Yes they are! The trolleys’ motors are electrically powered by wires overhead the tracks. There are poles on the roof of the trolley that are actually called “trolleys” which transmit the electricity from the wires to the car. This form of transportation is much more energy efficient, quieter, and cleaner than normal buses. San Francisco actually uses more trolleys than any other city in the United States!
Yes, the refurbished trolley system is now powered by electricity, but it was not always this way. The trolley system was designed because, in 1869, Andrew Smith Hallidie witnessed a horrifying crash when a horse-drawn carriage fell backwards down a hill. Searching for a safer way to travel, the trolley system was developed where a cable car is pulled along it’s hilly track by an underground cable. The cable is gripped with a vise-like mechanism that is operated via the grip lever in the front of the car which allows treacherous hills to be climbed without losing traction. It wasn’t until 1892 that the first electric street cars began running in San Francisco.
San Francisco’s cable cars are not the same as the trolley system. Cable cars run on an underground cable; the trolley cars or electric streetcars run on the surface and are powered by overhead electrical wires.
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