Et’s early in the morning in San Francisco and even Fisherman’s Wharf is still quiet. While they prepare the icy stretches there with mountains of oysters, lobsters and lobsters for the onslaught of day tourists, Val Lupiz stands with his legs apart next to his car and straightens his tie again, buttons his waistcoat and waits for the pointer to jump before he turns punctual 7 a.m. puts away his silver pocket watch and squeezes his huge hands into his coarse leather gloves: It’s the start of work for the “Gripman” and, like almost every day for the last 27 years, he and his conductor (conductor) get on a cable car and pull locals and tourists for a ten-hour shift on the steel wire on the Powell & Hyde Line through the streets of San Francisco.
While around him car manufacturers like General Motors and tech giants like Google are testing the public transport of the future with autonomous robot taxis, he invites his passengers to travel through time. Because if you get on or better: get on with the fifty-seven-year-old with Filipino-Japanese roots, you’ll drive through San Francisco like 150 years ago. “Technology hasn’t changed much since the very first cable car was hauled up Clay Street on Nob Hill on August 2, 1873,” says Val, briefly ringing the bell and then snapping the large lever located in the center of the car protrudes from the ground. One meter lower, far below the asphalt, a huge claw closes around the thick steel cable that purrs through the city from 7 in the morning until 11 at night with a loud hum, and Val’s car rumbles at exactly 9.5 miles per hour ( 15.3 km/h) up Hyde Street.
#years #cable #car #streets #San #Francisco
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