BART connects San Francisco to outlying towns and cities, including Daly City, Berkeley, and Oakland. It also stops at SFO. Thus, you have an efficient way to get to the city from the airport (and back).
When BART started operations in 1972, it was state-of-the-art. Today, it is showing signs of its age. It doesn't look as sleek as the newer trains. Its trains look dirty, even worn down. To train buffs, however, it remains a pleasure to ride.
For fares, routes, and schedules, go to the link below.
BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) has been recently extended to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The trains leave from the departure level on the international terminal.
There are four stops in downtown San Francisco and several stops in East Bay area. Check from the BART map whether you need to exchange train when going to East Bay. Connections to downtown are direct.
When you arrive to San Francisco and have gone through customs, turn right and walk to the next escalators going up. Go to the upper floor, continue walking straight until you enter to a smallish shopping area. Turn right and the BART station is in front of you.
Ticket to downtown San Francisco costs $4.95 (April 2005)
We traveled to San Francisco for the 49'ers vs. Miami Dolphins football game. Instead of trying to drive all the way downtown and then out to the ballpark, we took the BART from Dublin/Pleasanton to Balboa Park station. For $10.00 r/t, it was a great experience, plus we passed all of the traffic stuck on the highways...definitely the way to go.
Bay Area Rapid Transit created in the late 60's/early 70's and expanded over the last 30 plus years is the main transportation to the communities outside of San Francisco on the "East Bay" side of the Bay.
The "story" of BART actually began in 1946 but it took until 1964 for construction to begin and it wasn't until 1972 when the first passengers took a ride to become a reality.
I started using the system when I moved to CA in 1974 and have found it safe, convenient, and relatively on time.
Recently extended, today, travelers arriving at SF Airport, can take the terminal loop train to the "airport extension" of BART and ride to any of SF much quicker than relying on bus, or other local transportation.
I live almost at the end of one of the East Bay routes and it takes 1 hr 15 min to get to the airport. Add to that the $5.00 extended parking cost at BART some stations as opposed to $20 or more for parking at the airport and it's a great deal.
AND for anyone with a Palm or Pocket PC BART has an application to help you plan your trip...just download and install at http://www.bart.gov/stations/quickPlanner/overview.asp It works great.
This may sound dumb, but we learned the hard way that you can't share tickets on the BART. Because the machines let us put several dollars on our ticket, we figured we'd be economical and save a tree and use just one paper between us, passing it back and forth as we each went through the gates.
Well, we were stopped by a very surly cop on our way out who bullied us about it. We told him we had plenty of money on the ticket for both of us, but he was about to fine us! He ended up charging our ticket for a couple extra rides (pretty rude!) and letting us go.
Then we saw signs that said we each had to have our own ticket--but there were NO such signs where we bought the ticket!
If you are flying into San Francisco these days, the BART subway extension is now open and it's a great way to get downtown cheap and quick - if you are staying in any of the financial district hotels (such as the Hyatt or the Marriott on Market street) you won't have much of a walk from the BART station to the hotel.
Trains run about every 15 minutes, and the cost to downtown (from SF Airport to the Embarcadero station, which is the last station in the city before crossing the bay ) is $4.95 (compared to about $35 for a cab).
Be careful when going TO the airport from San Francisco, because not every train makes it to the airport - check the route maps and the signs on each train
There train system is not as extensive as in other cities. It mainly is in the downtown/ business area. It does not really go to the tourist or residential areas. One line the F does go to Fishermans Wharf. As a tourist you probably will have little use for it. For business travelers staying in the downtown area you may find it more suitable.
I don't remember how long it took, but we picked up the BART right from the SF airport and it droppped us off rigth in downtown SF. I think tickets were $8 each, or something like that. The ride was smoothe and pretty clean. Very easy way to travel, and cheaper than taxis and shuttle.
Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART is a subway connecting Daly City, San Francisco, Berkley, Richmond, Pleasanton and Oakland. So, it's great for getting around the cities surrounding San Francisco Bay, but it really isn't that great for merely getting around downtown San Francisco. BART basically has a few stops along Market Street before heading south or under the Bay toward Oakland. Unfortunately, BART does not even connect directly with San Francisco airport (future expansion plans include a BART station at SFO). Train fares depend on the distance that you travel.
B.A.R.T. is a very useful way of getting around the San Francisco Bay Area. It is the city's "underground", or "metro". It is a little pricier than its equivalent in some cities, but it is quick and relatively clean. An extension was opened fairly recently which connects directly with San Francisco Airport (SFO), and costs $4.95 one way to the city center. The system also offers day pass options for visitors and longer options for residents.
While the Muni system provides the primary way for visitors relying on public transportation to get around the city, the BART rapid transit trains are your ticket into the city from both the San Francisco and Oakland International Airports, as well as an efficient way to get to some of the suburban areas south of San Francisco and the East Bay communities.
BART operates in downtown San Francisco street, in the lower level of the Market Street Subway, below the Muni Metro trains. The system runs as far south of San Francisco as Milbrae, and, on the east side of the bay, serves Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Pittsburg, Bay Point, Dublin, Pleasanton, and Fremont. BART fares are priced by the distance you ride, and the system is more expensive than riding Muni. Therefore, it is not really designed for travel within downtown San Francisco. However, for reaching the city from the airports, or for travel to other locations in the Bay Area, it is a fast, cheap way to get to your destination.
prices are: example ar trip from balboa park to embarcadero is $ 1:45; Daly City to Oakland airport is $ 3.85
first of all review the route map and find the stations nearest where you wish to go. There are five lines, referred to by their end points (not by their colors).
Richmond > Daly City - Millbrae
Fremont > Richmond
Fremont > Daly City
Pittsburg / Bay Point > SFO
Dublin / Pleasanton > Daly City - Millbrae
then buy a ticket. Ticket machines at each station take cash and change as well as credit and debit cards. Tickets are sold according to how much money you put on them. You can add fare to a ticket while you are inside the BART system. You can put enough money on one ticket for multiple rides and use it several times. Place your ticket into the turnstile in the direction shown. Walk through and collect it. Keep your ticket with you, since you will need it to exit BART on the other end.
Signs indicate which trains are on which tracks. Board the correct train and ride BART to your destination. Exit the train and insert the ticket into the turnstile on your way out. If any fare is left on the ticket, it will be returned to you for further use.
more tips: BART charges your ticket based only on where you enter the system and where you exit the system, so there is no charge for changing trains
San Francisco has her own international airport, the transportation from airport to downtown is very convenience, you ma y take a cab, shuttle to subway (undergrond train), minbus and most of the hotels offer free shuttle transportation.
Take buses, cable car and the most effective is Bart (underground train).
BART is one of the most efficient and easy to use metro systems in the world. The trains are clean and nearly always run on time.
ARRIVING AT SFO and heading to DOWNTOWN SF- When you get off the plane look for the signs indicating BART or Trains. A monorail that makes stops at all terminals and the car rental will take you to the BART station.
BART offers an extremely quick and economical means of getting to downtown SF. For $ 8.10 you can get down to a station such as Powell or Embarcadero A cab ride could easily cost you $ 40 and a shuttle shared with others $25 or more. BART. trains leave every fifteen to twenty minutes. The ride will take you about thirty minutes. The ticket you purchase from one of the kiosks must be slipped face up into the turn style when entering and the same ticket must be used when leaving the train.
DISCOUNT TICKETS FOR 65 AND OLDER & KIDS 5-12- If you are a senior citizen, 65 or older, or traveling with children it will save you money to buy a special ticket. These tickets at the SFO airport can only be bought at the information booth which is next to the BART entrance/ For $ 9 you are entitled to $ 24 of fares throughout the BART system a savings of over 60%. ID's are not checked for fare purchase but be aware that purchasers of GREEN senior tickets are subject to be asked on board to confirm their age. The fine for traveling with a GREEN ticket and being under 65 is steep.
ADDING TO A FARE- Last week I was in SF for a VT meet when someone offered me for free several BART tickets with small amounts of unused fares on them. Why take home a bunch of BART tickets that you will never use again?
If you board a BART train with not enough fare on your ticket do not try and add money to it when you enter the station. Wait until you are done with your ride and then go to the ADD FARE kiosk. The machine will figure the exact additional fare you need to pay before you exit the turn style.
REMEMBER THE 4, 6, 8 RULE- BART runs from 4 am to 12 pm on weekdays, 6 am to 12 pm on Saturday, and 8 am to midnight on Sundays. So be sure and catch the last train before midnight or you could find yourself with a pretty steep taxi fare.
USE 511.ORG- While there are many apps for your smart phone that offer information on transit services by far the best and recommended on the BART page as the best source of information on how to get around the Bay Area is 511.org. This site will show you how to get to any place in the Bay Area from any location using bus or trains. Regardless of where you are staying it will give you step by step directions to walk to the nearest transit line and find the next bus or train to get you to your destination.
I only used BART once, to go to SFO, but I have to say I was very impressed. I hadn't really expected the trains to be so roomy (plenty of space for baggage) nor quite so clean. The Powell Street station, once I was inside, felt very safe.
There are frequent services on the SFO line throughout the day. Times and info on the website below. It's very easy to buy tickets from the machines in the station entrances (one-way fare from downtown SF to SFO was 8.25 USD in July 2013) and equally easy to take yourself and your bags down to the platforms (escalators).
Platforms are clearly signed and, as long as you take a train which is signed as going to SFO, you really can't go wrong.