What's the best Albany Airport / Saratoga Springs transit option?
July 17, 2012 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Transit options from/to Albany Airport to/from Saratoga Springs?

I'm looking for some local expertise to help plan transportation for an upcoming trip. I'm flying into Albany and need to get to/from Saratoga Springs.

Rental car: Expensive and a waste since I won't be using the car during the car during the week I'm in Saratoga Springs.

Bus/Train: Seems like a two-step process? Take the 737 CDTA bus downtown, then a Trailways bus or Amtrak to Saratoga Springs? The Trailways website seems broken in many ways (can't get the ticketing or schedules to work), which isn't giving me a warm fuzzy about that option.

Private Taxi: Probably fastest and most direct, but perhaps on the expensive side?

Other options? Are there other direct shuttles from Albany airport to Saratoga Springs?
posted by sarah_pdx to Travel & Transportation around Albany, NY (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Did you try Upstate bus?
posted by Nickel Pickle at 1:34 PM on July 17, 2012

Best answer: Yeah; public transportation options suck around here. Just be glad that you're not traveling on the Vermont side of the border.

Trailways supposedly runs a bus between the airport and Saratoga, but their web site is atrocious. You should probably call (800.776.7548) to ask.
posted by Betelgeuse at 1:50 PM on July 17, 2012

Best answer: The Capital District Transit Authority (CDTA) that you linked to is your primary public transportation option here and in Saratoga Springs. Using their trip planner gives you two basic options by bus: multiple bus transfers out to Schenectady, then take the Rt. 50 bus up to Saratoga; or multiple bus transfers out to downtown Albany and then Northway Express commuter bus up to Saratoga.

Honestly, CDTA will be a hassle and unless you time things just right, since their service is not very frequent - for example, the Rt 50 bus from Schenectady to Saratoga runs 1x per hour. The Northway Express busses from downtown Albany are commuter busses for state workers, and only run northward M-F from 4:30 - 7 pm, about 2x per hr.

Don't take Amtrak unless their schedule dovetails exactly with yours - they have 2x per day service, and if I remember right, you have to change trains in Schenectady anyway - like travelling two legs of a triangle.

If you are staying in a hotel in Saratoga, ask if they have an airport shuttle service - many of the major chains do. If they don't, ask them for a cab company or car service they recommend for airport pickup service, and schedule your own ride. Otherwise, you're stuck with Capitaland Taxi - fare to Saratoga should be around $50-60 - call to check.
posted by Ardea alba at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2012

Best answer: I wasn't aware of the Trailways/Upstate direct buses to Saratoga Springs, but they sound like your best option if you can get solid information on them.

CDTA is doable, but, as Ardea alba outlines, slower and potentially confusing to someone new to using it. The Google Maps public transit directions give you a good overview of the options; travel time is about 2-3 hours, cost $4-$12. Outside of weekday afternoon rush hour, your only option will be to go via Schenectady and the Route 50 bus.

This page from Skidmore College from a few years back gives the Capitaland Taxi rate from Albany International Airport to Saratoga Springs as $65. Call to check, of course, but I would expect at least that much. Travel time should be about 35-50 minutes. (They also give a schedule for the Trailways buses, but that is almost certainly out of date by now.)

I do not suggest Amtrak for this purpose; it will almost certainly be slower, as many or more transfers, and more expensive than taking CDTA all the way.
posted by beryllium at 3:25 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In the end, I took the CDTA bus.

I was a little nervous waiting around for a transfer on a random suburban street (will the bus come? will it be on schedule? am I in the right place?), but it worked find.

Google maps transit directions worked fine for mapping the route.

Thanks everyone!
posted by sarah_pdx at 9:31 AM on August 22, 2012

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