Getting to/from SFO airport?
October 21, 2012 4:18 PM   Subscribe

What are some inexpensive, yet reliable modes of transportation, to/from SFO airport and the South Bay?

I'm faced with the prospect of multiple trips out of SFO this coming year. While I can do SuperShuttle, I was wondering if people have found less expensive options?

I've tried the KX bus once, and while that did the trick, it was a bit much in terms of the time expenditure.


Bonus: similar recommendations from the South Bay to OAK and SJC?
posted by raspberry jam and clothes iron to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (15 answers total)
Caltrain to Millbrae, BART to the Airport.
posted by eugenen at 4:29 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can take Caltrain from SFO to the South Bay. At the airport take BART to the Milbrae Transit Center stop. Then take Caltrain down the peninsula. There's also the Airport Flyer that runs from the Santa Clara Caltrain station to SJC.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:29 PM on October 21, 2012

For South Bay to SJC, you can take the 22 bus that goes through El Camino Real or the Caltrain to the Santa Clara Caltrain. There, a free shuttle will take you to the airport. I've done it once from Mountain View to SJC, and vice versa. It was pretty easy and took about an hour, which I'm fine with. Just be aware of where the buses will pick up passengers on the reverse trip because I did get confused (they are not the same place!). The 22 bus going to Palo Alto on the reverse journey actually leaves from the street on El Camino, rather than the station itself.
posted by so much modern time at 4:30 PM on October 21, 2012

Where in the South Bay?

For public transportation 511 is probably your man. Inevitably, though, for South Bay -> SFO you're going to be limited to the KX bus or Caltrain & BART.
posted by dd42 at 4:39 PM on October 21, 2012

I'm gathering that if I'm crossing two zones on Caltrain from the South Bay, I'll be looking at $10 Caltrain + $8.10 for the BART, round trip?
Will they let me take lots of luggage on, or could that potentially become an issue?
posted by raspberry jam and clothes iron at 4:44 PM on October 21, 2012

I've never done the KX, but if you do the CalTrain/BART, if you can carry/drag your luggage without assistance, it shouldn't be a problem.
posted by trip and a half at 5:10 PM on October 21, 2012

How long will you stay each trip? Would it work to have lodging close to your work site and only make the round trip to and from SFO once?
posted by X4ster at 5:12 PM on October 21, 2012

If time expenditure is a real concern, BART + Caltrain may be problematic. Depending on when you are traveling, it can be a looooooooooooooooong wait to switch between one and the other.
posted by ambrosia at 5:24 PM on October 21, 2012

Be SURE you're on top of your transit alerts, because if it's multiple trips, BART's going to be delayed or nonfunctional on one of them. (Know which friends will give you an emergency ride or something. Once we wound up driving ourselves, which I presume isn't an option for you, and paying a lot for parking.)
posted by wintersweet at 5:33 PM on October 21, 2012

Caltrain has luggage cars.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:05 PM on October 21, 2012

For what it's worth, my boyfriend flies out of SFO every 2-3 weeks from Palo Alto and has always found the KX bus to be faster than trying to do Caltrain and then BART. something always goes wrong with the connection. You might also consider taking the KX bus to SFO, when you have a bit more control over which bus you take (it runs something like every hour I think) and then taking BART to Caltrain back.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 11:00 PM on October 21, 2012

Re the Caltrain/BART to SFO situation, I just wanted to add that I rarely have a problem with the connection, but that the reliability may also depend on the time of day. You have to take the Bart TWICE, switching directions, between 8am and 8pm on weekdays. For this, among many other reasons, I strongly prefer the Caltrain to San Jose.
posted by willbaude at 12:04 AM on October 22, 2012

On CalTrain, they get upset if you block the isle with your luggage. In addition, CalTrain can get pretty full during rush hour making it difficult to store luggage. There is also extreme crowding during certain city events such as a '49s game. I still think it's a good way to go but just be aware.

For South Bay to SJC, I've found it stupidly cheap to just drive to a 3rd party parking place (park & fly). It varies on the date of travel but I've found for 2-3 day trips that driving is often cheaper than the shuttle services. And faster, of course.
posted by chairface at 3:48 AM on October 22, 2012

Re: BART to Caltrain: It's not very expensive to take a taxi from SFO to the Millbrae Caltrain station, and frequently much faster than waiting for BART to show up. It's something to keep in mind if you are worried that BART delays are going to make you miss the Caltrain connection, or during the times you have to change trains on BART just to get to Millbrae.
posted by ambrosia at 10:19 AM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm doing this today (really right now), and i asked one of the taxi drivers how much from millbrae to terminal 3. He said $12 or $13. For comparison Bart's $4.05.

I could see that being worth it if you're in a hurry, or traveling on a weekday and want to avoid transferring at San Bruno and the AirTrain.
posted by dd42 at 2:33 PM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

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