THE OMNIBUS RAILROAD & CABLE COMPANY – 1889

The Omnibus Company was one of the earliest transportation systems in San Francisco, dating to 1861. Gustav Sutro owned the firm and in 1889 replaced the firm’s horsecar lines with cable operations. The company was the second largest cable system in the City, with 11.3 miles of rail, but was not successful. Electric Trolleys were improving rapidly and only eleven years after the line opened, all routes were eliminated or converted to electric streetcars.

The Omnibus Cable lines followed the pattern of the Market Street Cable routes, on less traveled streets however. Meager revenues forced the company to abandon the Howard Street line, from 10th Street to 26th Street, in 1893, after only four years in operation. Market Street Railway took over the failing company in October 1893 and promptly converted the cable lines to electric streetcars or closed them. The powerhouse at Oak and Broderick Streets in the Western Addition converted to electricity in 1895, along with the Oak and Ellis cable lines. The remnant of the Howard Street line, from the Ferry Building to the powerhouse at 10th Street stopped operating in 1899, as did the Post Street line.

Cable Car
Heritage