San Francisco city is a beautiful city in Northern California, filled with scenic beauties to witness, and human-made landmarks to explore. If you are a visitor to the city, here are a few tips to maneuver through the many winding, angled and hidden streets and alleyways of this great city. We are talking about utilizing the public transportation services available in the area.
Trains / Metro
BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)
BART has all electric trains, they provide speed, they are low-cost and dependable connecting multiple cities in the Bay Area. If you are flying into the airport at San Francisco or Oakland, you can easily take the BART to multiple locations within the San Francisco city, and avoid traffic to boot while at it. Charges are based on distance.
Clipper Multi-Transit cards can be bought at specifically designated ticket machines in BART stations. You can use it on BART as well as other transit systems like the Muni buses, Muni Metro, cable cars and streetcars within the city. Just beware to always keep the card loaded, the fines can get heavy.
Feel free to use BART to travel to other cities neighboring San Francisco. All information related to stations and schedules are available on the website.
CalTrain runs along the San Francisco Peninsula. If you have flown into the airport at San Jose, you will have to get to Santa Clara Caltrain Station, and you can use the Airport Flyer-VTA shuttle, which runs every 15 mins. Charges are based on zones traveled. It will take you at least one full hour to get from the Santa Clara station to San Francisco. CalTrain also connects other cities in the Bay Area. All information related to stations and schedules are available on the website.
Muni Metro always provides train services, and sometimes goes underground, for travel within the San Francisco city. Just use the Muni Metro map for schedule details and locations.
Amtrak is another train service that provides long distance rides to explore different areas within and outside the Bay Area.
Board the California Zephyr and enjoy some spectacular scenic beauties with rivers, lakes and mountains, on the way from the Bay Area to Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver and Chicago. This is a luxury train offering full service dining cars, spacious coach and sleeping cars, and lounge services. The train runs daily, thus allowing you flexibility of time.
Coast Starlight is another service from the Bay Area to Seattle, Portland, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. It provides an adventure of its own as it rides along the coastline, offering views that are bar none.
Capitol Corridor services 32 daily train rides from San Jose to Sacramento.
San Joaquins is another Amtrak service that connects Bay Area to the San Joaquins valley, and outside to Fresno and Bakersfield directly, and Los Angeles and other Southern California cities through connections. You could also use other connections to enjoy Yosemite National Park, or the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.
Buses / Shuttle
SamTrans (San Mateo Transit)
SamTrans has public buses running between San Francisco airport and downtown San Francisco.
Muni buses run throughout the city, and information can be found by downloading the SF Bay Transit Trip Planner app for maps, routes and schedules.
Vans / Shuttles
Other buses, big or small, called vans or shuttles are privately-owned, shared rides from the San Francisco airport to any part of the city. These shuttles make multiple stops, so depending upon the number of passengers, assume to spend at least a half hour to a max of an hour and half to reach your destination. The charges are one-way only.
Cable Cars / Streetcars
When traveling to San Francisco, this is one heritage experience everyone needs to enjoy. These are typical and historic public transit cars. You can pay when you get on, and you will need the exact amount. There are multiple locations within the city where you could also buy tickets in advance, or download and use the MuniMobile app.
Taxi / ride-share services
A number of taxi and limousine companies serve San Francisco city and other neighborhood cities. You could easily catch a taxi cab from any airport arrivals in all terminals. All cabs run on meters. Limousines can be reserved in advance.
You can obviously call an Uber or Lyft from any airport departure area to San Francisco or any other city in the Bay Area. Avail either of these services for private use or using their shared option like Lyft Line or UberPool.
There! We have the whole list of public transportation you could use while traveling to San Francisco, and neighboring areas in the country. Even though you might lose some time using these transportation services instead of driving, you will save enough time and headache by skipping the Bay Area traffic.
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