SFO to Lower Haight and back. Howto?
March 28, 2016 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Coming to San Francisco. Non-travelers need a reasonably affordable way to get to an apartment in the Lower Haight area.

Dotsmom and I are going to be spending just over a week in San Francisco, at the end of April. My cousin and his partner are putting us up for the duration, but we need to get there from SFO. We've never been and, not being frequent flyers, we're kind of dumb about our options. So, I turn to the hivemind to help me suss the options.

We fly in on Thursday, the 21st, around 5pm. We need to get to Hermann St., at Market.

I assume a cab would be astronomical. Is Uber the way to go? The Uber estimator is showing me a wide range in prices...$27 all the way up to $85. But, then they also show flat-rate prices of $65-$85. It's kind of confusing to a non-traveler like me.

For extra credit: We, of course, have to get back to SFO. That's Saturday the 30th at 8-freaking-AM.

Hope me hivemind! Get me to my cousin at a reasonable (for the Bay Area, I guess) cost!

Many thanks!

And, yes, it would be really cool to have a meetup while we're there!
posted by Thorzdad to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (15 answers total)
I just checked my uber reciepts for my last few visits to SF (over the past year). Rates are generally pretty favorable - i dont think you're likely to get the bottom end of that range unless you avoid all traffic, but 30-40 bucks seems totally likely. Cabs in SF are difficult, they were never well regulated or consolodated and the pricing almost never makes them preferable to ride-share services.

the ideal option would be to sign up for a service you dont currently use (lyft, sidecar etc) and use some of the early promos to get your end costs down.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:16 AM on March 28, 2016

Have done this many times from the exact same neighborhoods - Lyft runs me around $30, each way, total. Uber would be about the same, I expect. If you're not pressed for time and want to save some money, look into Lyft Line. Also, availability isn't an issue - I've gotten rides to the airport at 4am with no problems.
posted by un petit cadeau at 11:17 AM on March 28, 2016

First, Uber does has some flat rates for Uber Black and Uber SUV trips to/from SFO. These are towncar services and will not be the cheapest reasonable way to go.

Around 5pm on a weekday, you'll be in pretty bad traffic into the city, which will cost you a decent amount in an Uber or Lyft. Both Uber and Lyft charge both based on distance and on time, so traffic makes the cost fairly unpredictable. They also have shared services--Uber Pool and Lyft Line--where you'll likely share the car with another passenger and may have to stop to drop them off first. Those shared services are fixed cost though, so you'll get a firm price before committing.

Another option is public transit. Start by taking BART from SFO into San Francisco, which will run you $8.95/person. I'd get off at 16th and Mission and walk about a half a mile to Hermann St unless you have a lot of luggage.

Coming back to SFO, Yellow Cab does a $35 flat rate if you book on their site, but at 8am on a Saturday, Uber or Lyft are likely to be significantly cheaper than that due to lack of traffic. Transit will work to go back also, but be careful to check the schedules, as BART to the airport only runs every 20 minutes or so.
posted by zachlipton at 11:22 AM on March 28, 2016 [5 favorites]

The BART from SFO to the 16th Street Mission station is $8.90. Its about a .7 mile walk from there to the general location you have indicated. For the two of you that would be $17.80 one way plus a little wear and tear on the shoes.
posted by mygoditsbob at 11:23 AM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Take BART into SF from the airport. Get off at Civic Center. Then:
1. Go up to street level and catch a historic f-line streetcar outbound. Get off at Laguna St.
2. Transfer to an N-Judah outbound streetcar, and get off at Church Street.
3. Catch a cab/Lyft/etc. from there.

Google maps does great public transit trip planning in the bay area.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:24 AM on March 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

I live about a mile from when you're going. Both Uber and Lyft generally run me $30-$40, though I rarely travel at rush hour. Note that to take an Uber or Lyft from SFO you'll have to go to the Departures level, they're not allowed to go to the Arrivals level where the baggage claim and taxis are (at least not at Terminal 2).

I usually take Lyft to the airport and take a taxi back. There's almost always a line of taxis waiting at the airport, so you don't have to ping a car and wait for it and coordinate with the driver as to where you are, etc. In my experience it only runs about $5 more, and I like to support the taxi system-- I don't want to see it vanish entirely.
posted by pocketfullofrye at 11:27 AM on March 28, 2016

> 1. Go up to street level and catch a historic f-line streetcar outbound. Get off at

Guerrero and Market. Hermann enters Market opposite Guerrero. If your place really is at Market and Hermann, you won't have to take the F any further than that.
posted by rtha at 11:32 AM on March 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

Another option to consider is SuperShuttle. A bit of a hassle if you're the last drop off, but cheap and cheerful.

Otherwise BART downtown and a cab from there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:39 AM on March 28, 2016

I've started leaning towards Lyft and Lyft Line thanks to the general shittiness of Uber's founders, and it's treatment of drivers. Lyft isn't night and day better, but it's better than lining Uber's coffers. The nice thing about taking a shared ride with either, other than just the reduced rate, is that you are 2 people, so at most you are likely to get paired with one other person coming to the city, and then you have a 50/50 chance of being first to be dropped off, worst case you have one additional stop. This will be way faster and easier than schlepping your bags onto BART so IMHO it's way worth the extra $10-20 it's going to cost you.

Used to be that the blue Super Shuttle vans were the best deal but given that they're still about $16 p/p each way at this point I have to imagine Uber and Lyft are putting them out of business.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:40 AM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just take BART, the SF subway/train system. There's a terminal right at SFO. It's cheaper and faster than anything else. If you get off at Civic Center ($8.95) and walk a block to Market Street, you can catch a 6, 7, or 71 bus going west ($2.25)-- they all go to Haight Street. Same thing when you're heading back to SFO. The BART starts running at 6am so you should have plenty of time. You can call a Lyft/Uber from Civic Center coming or going if you don't feel like waiting for the bus or if you have a lot of bags.

Google maps has all this info with BART and bus times in the public transit option once you get there if you're feeling unsure of what to do.
posted by ananci at 12:36 PM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I live in the Haight and travel to and from SFO regularly. I always take a cab - a regular taxi. It's the easiest thing in the world. I do not (& will not) use Uber or Lyft, so cannot comment on those services. In over fifteen years, I have never had trouble with taxis in SF. From SFO to Hermann & Market it will cost you $40-$45.

If you take BART: Hermann and Market is not on the 6 or 7 bus (the 71 is no longer extant. It's now the 7.) Those lines turn up on Haight, several blocks before Hermann & Market. The only muni line that directly serves Hermann and Market is the F-Line, which are the street-level 'historic' streetcars. A warning though: Taking the F-Line with luggage is a pain in the ass.

Save yourself the hassle: just take a regular taxi from SFO.
posted by gyusan at 1:16 PM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

When you arrive, you'll be hitting the streets at rush hour, so ride services and taxis will be more expensive due to traffic and travel time. You could take BART and grab an Uber from Civic Center or you can transfer over to the streetcar/MUNI system. Frankly, after a day of flying, I'd just spring for a cab from SFO. It's easy and close enough to the price of a Uber/Lyft to not matter much. If you're not used to travelling and navigating a strange transit system, it's not fun and the money you'd save after buying transit tickets isn't enough, IMO.

Getting a taxi (the Flywheel app allows you to pre-book taxis to the airport for a specific time and it's been flawless for me) for your trip back will probably run you ~$40.
posted by quince at 2:30 PM on March 28, 2016

Not directly answering the question, but both the 16th and Market and Civic Center Bart station areas are not the first thing I would want to show a visitor who isn't a frequent traveler and has never been to San Francisco. Neither is dangerous exactly, but the immediate area around both stations is not the nicest part of the city. Doubly so if your flight is really late for some reason.

My advice would be to take a cab or ride service.

(FWIW, I refuse Uber as well, due to how unethically I believe the company is run.)
posted by cnc at 4:25 PM on March 28, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks, all.
In the end, we opted for an old-school cab. We had overpacked and had a bajillion bags, anyway.

Oh, try the pork belly at Fang. You can thank me later.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:46 PM on April 27, 2016

Response by poster: As an update, on our drive back to the airport, we used Wingz to book a ride (at 5:30am) and we were very pleased with the service.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:43 PM on May 27, 2016

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