We needed transportation with 2 infant car seats to and from the airport. Pleasant Limo was a great choice. They were prompt, professional and friendly. The infant seats were clean and sturdy. One trip was in a Cadillac SUV, the other in a Lincoln Towncar.
We've done the "Taxi" experience twice during our visits to SF. Both of our taxi rides were due to it being just too rainy and miserable outside. A taxi from the airport ran us $52 including tip which is reasonable to me.
San Francisco is one of the most taxi-friendly places I have visited in a while. Probably because the city is so compact, there seems to always be a taxi nearby.
Taxis in the city can be legally hailed almost anywhere on the streets, but if you are shy hotels might be a little easier place to grab a cab. If the light is on, the taxi is available, you just need to get the driver's attention.
Fares start at $3.10 for the first 1/5th of a mile and each additional 1/5th of a mile is another $0.45. A minute stopped waiting or in traffic is another $0.45, and there is a $2.00 airport fee. Furthermore, passengers are required to pay tolls.
San Francisco has more than 30 licensed cab companies, most of them OK, but a few like Grasshopper Taxi are a little sketchy.
We booked Diamond Limousines to pick us up at the Oakland Airport and drop us off at the Fisherman's Wharf Marriott in San Francisco. The same on our way back to the Oakland Airport. Very good service, friendly and on time. I believe the price was around $94 one way.
Taxis are fairly plentiful in the downtown area, but not as much as in New York or a city like Buenos Aires (they were EVERYWERE there!). If you need a cab, try hailing one down and if you don't have any luck, head to the nearest major hotel and they're likely to be lined up. The fare is metered and starts at $1.70. It moves pretty quickly, so this isn't necessarily your best option. We rode a cab one night because we had something like 10 minutes to meet some friends across town and it was really the only way to be on time.
We stayed in the Fisherman's Wharf area, & wanted to hire a car for a day, to go across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County and Mount Tamalpais. We used the Avis office at 500 Beach Street, Suite 120, which was very close to our hotel. Tip - check time that their office closes. Top quality car & good service.
There's loads of taxi's all over the downtown area. I didn't take a taxi from SFO to downtown, but I was told it's $45.
The fares in general didn't seem to be too expensive, but they do expect big tips. One driver got pissed at me cuz I gave him $11 for a $8.25 fare. After that I was tipping at least 33% and they all seemed ok with it .
Fly into either San Francisco Intl. SFO or Oakland. Oakland is sometimes, and I stress sometimes, cheaper, less crowded, shorter lines and if someone is picking you up, they will appreciate the lack of traffic.
S.F. has this thing called MUNI. It's the public transportation system,ie, busses, trolley cars and underground trains. It's an amazing thing. Never seem to be on time, the drivers are rarely friendly and have a habit of slamming on the brakes when you are standing and narrowly avoiding cars that clearly have the right of way.
It's less expensive than a cab and will eventually get to where you need to go but I would opt for a cab given the money.
Motorcycles. Forgot the taxis and airports shuttles: Too practical, cheap and safe. The real beauty of SF and the Bay Area is the roads meant for motorcyclists.
Rent a motorcycle from Dubbelju(pronounce 'W'), Eagleriders, San Jose BMW, Cruise America... It'll cost you a pretty penny at $100+/day after insurance and taxes.
There are many sites dedicated to scenic motorcycle rides so I won't repeat any of them here. Avoid main freeways during rush hour and stay on the backroads or roads along the ocean or bay is my best advice. Amazing views you will see not unlike those in Costa Rica.
If you can afford it taxis are best. Buses are great but be prepared for getting lost a few times. Not to panic though, the bus drivers are always extremely helpful and considerate. And certainly don't rule out walking as much as possible, it's one of the most pleasant things you'll do.
I often wondered where they park these large monsters.....its such a problem to park your normal car in S.F.C. let alone these Limo's