The Cable Car is one of San Francisco's most beloved icons. Even when the city is enshrouded in fog, the clang of the cable car bells comes through! This system began operating in 1873 and has since been filled with tourists and local commuters alike, riding the little cars up and down the city's hilly streets at 9 miles an hour. Designed by Andrew Hallidie, the cable car system connects a series of subsurface cables, powered by a central motor, to which moving cars can be attached. Tremendous upper body strength is needed to operate the grip (holding onto the cable) and brakes. They are energy efficient and have low emissions. Of course, on San Francisco's notoriously steep hills, the experience may feel less like public transit and more like a roller coaster ride.