The cable car system consists of 3 separate lines. The “Powell-Hyde” line, the “Powell-Mason” line and the “California” line. The California line runs along California Street and runs East-West from the Financial District, through Chinatown, over Nob Hill and stops at Van Ness Avenue. This cable car is taken by many locals. The two main “tourist” cable lines are the Powell Lines. Both start at Powell and Market street where each car is turned, by hand, on a turntable to aim it back up Powell Street. The Powell-Hyde line (the one I rode) runs over Nob and Russian hills before ending at Aquatic Park near Ghiradelli Square. This is also the line that runs across Lombard Street (the “crooked street”) before descending down the steep hill to the bay. The Powell-Mason line runs over Nob Hill and down to Bay Street at Fisherman’s Wharf. The two Powell cable cars alternate at the Powell/Market turntable. The cable car will say which line it is. If the car that is next isn’t the line you want you do not have to board. Just wait for the next car. They leave at about 8 minute increments. The cost is $6 one way. You can buy a ticket at each end or hop on at one of the many cable car stops and pay $6 in cash (no credit cards). The “Powell-Hyde” line has the steepest hills and runs over Lombard Street, plus Ghirardelli Square is right down the street (Fishermans Wharf is also a short walk away but the Powell-Mason line does get you closer to the Wharf).