San Francisco BART, Caltrain and Ferries
Public Transportation Strategies
San Francisco has many train and ferry lines to help you get around!
BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) takes you long distances from San Francisco to the suburbs, and
is your best bet for reaching the East Bay cities of Berkeley and Oakland. It’s mostly a commuter train, but many tourists ride BART to see
Berkeley or to get to the SFO and Oakland
Tickets are for sale at every station, and prices are based on distance traveled. At the ticket machine, check the price of your destination
and purchase a ticket for the exact amount. There is no discount for roundtrip tickets. BART does offer slight
discounts for “high-value” tickets (over $30), but for a tourist this is hardly worth the effort.
CalTrain is another commuter train that runs out of San Francisco’s 4th/King Street station. It is mostly used by people living or
working in the South Bay cities of Silicon Valley, but it does go as far as San Jose and Gilroy. If you are staying in Palo Alto or Mountain View, for instance,
this may be a convenient way to get to San Francisco. From the 4th/King station, you can walk or take a bus to many city destinations. Tickets are sold at
stations and are based on distance, like BART. Monthly passes are available.
There are also ferry boats which travel to some of the more "high-class" suburban areas in Marin County.
The ferries are quite nice and a fun ride with great views when the weather allows. This is a great alternative to buying a Bay Cruise
from Fisherman’s wharf because you’ll see and experience much of the same trip without the cost or the very annoying audio narration.
Sausalito and Tiburon are the best destinations for a nice half-day trip. Many ferries leave from the Ferry Building at the end of
Market St. at Embarcadero, or from the piers near Fisherman’s Wharf. The Ferry Building is also home to a farmer’s market
on Saturday morning, which is well worth visiting.
Everything you need to know:
Buses and Streetcars
San Francisco CityPass
511.org Public Transit information
San Francisco Muni Maps
CalTrain - San Jose to San Francisco Trains