The CalTrain is the commuter train that connects the southern part of the peninsula to San Francisco. I've taken the Caltrain on a few rare occasions when I'm meeting friends in San Jose and they can't pick me up at the airport as well as during a trip into the Bay Area from Santa Clara for a baseball game.
There are 6 travel zones each with their own fare rate. The fare is based on your starting and end point and are priced by zones. Travel on the CalTrain is quite comfortable and easy as the trains are large (double decker) with comfy seats.
Please note that you must purchase your ticket at the platform from a vending machine or from a station agent (if there is one).
Check out their website for travel maps, prices and more information regarding the CalTrain.
The Airtrain is a free and easy way of getting to and around San Francisco International Airport.
The Airtrain has two lines the blue and the green lines and both lines will connect you to all of the terminals, garages and the BART station.
When you enter into the station, take a look at the map which will indicate the station terminal of your choice.
The trains run very frequently about every 2 to 3 minutes and is operated on a 24 hour basis.
Check out the link below for a detail of service the Airtrain provides.
I am pretty sure that there are no Amtrak trains going to San Francisco. You take the train until Emeryville and then catch the Amtrak bus to San Francisco. The bus stops at many strategic locations, including the Ferry Terminal, Fisherman's Wharf, and Market and 4th (near the cable car terminal).
I found Amtrak to be a very convenient way to travel to San Francisco from Los Angeles. I book my tickets online. The tickets are mailed to me, or I pick them up at Union Station. The Amtrak buses are never full. The trains are clean and well-maintained. I especially like the snack car; it keeps you well fed. You eat while watching the countryside go by. It's really a nice way to travel.
If you're not driving, this is one of the way to get from San Jose/Gilroy to San Francisco & vise versa.
Here's some of the options:
One-way tickets are valid for 4 hours from the date & time of purchase and are honored for one-way travel from point of origin, including stopovers within the zones shown.
10-ride tickets are vald for 60 days, but each ride is valid for 4 hours and must be time-stamped using one of the station validators. You can also use the same ticket for multiple passangers, but ticket must be stamped once for each passanger.
Day passes are valid for unlimited travel between zones indicated on the pass until the last train of the sevice day.
Purchase your ticket before boarding - tickets not sold on train!!
From other parts of the state, getting to San Francisco by car is a harrowing experience. But riding on Amtrak is very enjoyable. I usually drive to the Amtrak station in Sacramento, and take the train into Oakland's Jack London Square or Emeryville (where the connecting bus takes you into downtown San Francisco). It's quicker than driving during the rush hour, and cheaper than parking--if you can even find a place to park in San Francisco.
Yes, yet another mass trans way to get to San Francisco is CalTrain, the main rail network that connects San Jose to San Francisco, going up through the western portion of the Bay Area. More expensive than MUNI and BART (sometimes around $7), CalTrain provides a good leisurely 90 minute journey between the two metropolises with various stops along the way. CalTrains also connects with BART, MUNI, and SamTrans, the mass trans network of neighboring San Mateo County.
Arriving in San Francisco by rail has always been difficult given the nature of its geography: in the past trains would be ferried from Oakland to the foot of Market Street, which served as the de facto train station for the city. Today, the trains stop completely at the Oakland Amtrak Station, and either BART or a ferry will have to be taken to arrive in San Francisco.
CalTrain is a commuter rail line running down the western shore of San Francisco Bay from the CalTrain station in San Francisco's South of Market District. Use it to access San Mateo County towns, San Jose and the Silicon Calley area, and into the southern portions of the Central Valley. Cost is higher than that of MUNI or BART.
There are two adequate airports in the immediate vicinity, and that's all easy enough to sort out. There is also Amtrak, and CalTrain. Getting here is easy, it's getting around in San Francisco that seems to give people trouble!
Parking is a huge nightmare in San Francisco, and driving here can be quite a chore as well. I live here happily without a car, and I can get anywhere with my trusty Muni buspass and a good pair of shoes. The most important website for anyone planning a trip to San Francisco is theSan Francisco Bay Area Transit Information site which has maps and schedules for all the various transit agencies in the region. I also carry a Muni map around in my bag at all times, in case some random adventure should arise.
I take the Amtrack train from sac. Its very relaxing and quiet. Only a few hours (if that) with NO traffic!
The BART train is nice too, but going out to my car in those parking lots late at night freaks me out.
I usually walk or take a cab. I got on a cable car once, but it ended up being a tour that went to some forest. (i have no idea)