San Francisco's iconic cable cars shut down for repairs

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Nothing says, "Hey I'm on vacation in San Francisco," like the Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Ladies, and the iconic cable cars.

"We went to San Francisco especially for cable cars and now we discovered that they are not in service," Valalea, a tourist from Italy said. "It's impossible to use the cable car."

Valalea and her husband were shuffled on to SFMTA's shuttle buses, the cable car replacements for a whole 10 days.

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The gearboxes, which propel cable cars up hills, are being repaired. All of the cars have been pulled off the streets. It's the final step in a three-year, six-million dollar restoration project.

"We have five gear boxes that we work with and they're pretty old," Erica Kato, an SFMTA spokesperson said. "They've been in service since 1984 continuously, so it's really important that we keep things in a state of good repair."

"We came here to get a cable car and we couldn't get it," Guilia Scappini, a tourist from Brazil, said.

"You know it's something that we were looking forward to, but the city is amazing," Sergio Lantim, another tourist from Brazil said. "The weather is amazing."

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SFMTA said ridership usually trickles off at this time of year which is why the work is happening now. ABC7 News watched busses pull up every five to six minutes to take some disappointed tourists to their destinations.

However, Steffan Kinseubhch and his wife were all smiles.

"We saw the sign and so we started up early up in the morning yesterday to get to the cable cars and to Fisherman's Wharf," Kinseubhch said.

Kinseubhch and his wife will head home to Germany by the end of the weekend.

The cable cars will be back up and running on Monday September 23.

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