San Francisco streets filled with chiming music from Muni cable car bell 'ring-off'

KGO logo
Monday, October 26, 2020
SF cable car drivers fill air with music during bell 'ring-off'
On Saturday, the streets of downtown San Francisco were filled with the chiming music of an afternoon cable car bell 'ring-off' put on by Muni gripmen.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The musical talents of San Francisco's cable car gripmen shined during a MUNI-scheduled ring off on Saturday, a tradition that dates back decades.

The bells chiming are a sound many city residents haven't heard around in a while, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Muni's cable cars haven't run since March, and many miss the sights and sounds of the moving landmarks.

RELATED: Muni faces financial crisis due to COVID-19, most bus lines could vanish for years

In July, officials said that they doubt service would return for the historic vehicles until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, to keep operators safe.

While there is still no concrete timetable for the vehicles to return to normal operations, a few cable cars have been stationed at the Powell Street turnaround on weekdays for photos and educational purposes.

The San Francisco cable car system was created in 1873 as a high-tech alternative to climbing the city's hills, instead of using horse-drawn carriages.