SFO to SJC - At least I'll see a lot of public transit
August 1, 2008 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Easiest/quickest way to get from SFO to SJC and back again?

So I'm taking a trip out to SF next weekend and screwed up my priceline car rental. I'm flying into SFO but accidentally selected to pickup/dropoff my rental car from SJC. Since I used name your own price on priceline I cannot cancel, change, or get a refund on this. Whoops! On the plus side, it's much cheaper to rent the car from SJC, so it's not all bad.

Luckily I have a lot of time the day I arrive to go pick up the car, and plenty of time the day I leave to drop the car off and get back to SFO. So how do I get from SFO to SJC to pick the car up, and how can I get from SJC back to SFO after I drop the car off?

If it matters I need to get to SJC on Friday the 8th by around 5pm (landing around noon) and I need to be back at SFO on Monday the 11th at around 5pm.

As best as I can figure out, I can take BART from SFO to the fremont station. Then take VTA 180 to the civic center light rail stop. Take the light rail to the metro/1st stop. From there I can then take VTA10 (airport flyer) to SJC.

I would assume that I can then do that in reverse to get from SJC to SFO.

Is that right? Will that get me where I need to go? Is there a better way? Around how long with that take and how much will it cost?

If it ends up being a giant hassle I guess I'll just pay for a second car and use it as a lesson to pay more attention on priceline next time.

posted by Arbac to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
Take the Airbus! It's based in Monterey, but runs super dependable & comfy vans between SCJ & SFO.
posted by squalor at 5:32 PM on August 1, 2008

There are a bunch of "airporters' that do the circuit between their cities (Santa Cruz, Marin County, etc) and the SFO and SJC or Oakland airports. It's definitely easy and quick, but may not be your cheapest option.
posted by pantsrobot at 5:34 PM on August 1, 2008

Airbus looks like an easy solution, but my preference is for cheap! So public transit ideas would be great. Would the route I listed about actually work? Any idea as to how long it would take?
posted by Arbac at 5:48 PM on August 1, 2008

The public transportation route you've just described will take hours. If you don't want to take the Airporter or the Airbus, I would suggest that you just rent another car. Any other option is truly going to be a monstrous hassle.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 5:50 PM on August 1, 2008

Oh yuck, take Caltrain. Fremont would put you around the bay entirely. I think you either take BART to the Millbrae

I would have just taken Caltrain or BART into the city and gone carless but that's me. :)
posted by kcm at 5:51 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

(my sentence was cut off but the link shows you the current and specified timetables for the trip I was describing: BART -> Caltrain -> SJC.)
posted by kcm at 5:51 PM on August 1, 2008

And to reply to my reply to my reply, take 280 on the way back up and then down to drop it off. 101 looks more direct and every mapping website/software will tell you to take it, but 280 is much more pleasant (in terms of drivers/speed/terrain) and scenic.
posted by kcm at 5:53 PM on August 1, 2008

If you do want to take public transport, don't take bart to Fremont. Rather, BART to Millbrae and take the Caltrain towards San Jose; I am not sure how the stops work out but it'll be a lot faster and convenient, and if the Caltrain doesn't stop in the right place, transferring to the VTA should be really easier. You'll save yourself a trip around the bay which takes at least an hour.
posted by bsdfish at 5:55 PM on August 1, 2008

bsdfish, you can't take the BART from SFO to Millbrae anymore.

Go to the SFO BART station, and take the San Francisco/Pittsburgh train one stop to San Bruno. Get off at San Bruno, and get on the Millbrae train to Millbrae. At Millbrae, walk over to Caltrain and transfer to Caltrain heading southbound towards San Jose. Get off at Santa Clara station. Take the VTA Route 10 airport shuttle to the airport (or walk it if you can -- you'll be very close).

Whatever way you do this via public transit, it's kind of a pain. The way above is pretty much the only one that won't have you pulling out your hair. The way above will take around 2 hours.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 6:08 PM on August 1, 2008

Thanks - I might just suck it up and pay to switch my flight to go into and out of SJC. But 2 hours isn't that much time to hangout on transit. I guess I have to decide how much I wanna save those last minute change fees.

kcm - I would have loved to have just gotten into the city and not needed a car, but I need to get out to Los Gatos, Walnut Creek, and Novato while I'm out there - so I figured having a car would just make my life much easier.
posted by Arbac at 6:18 PM on August 1, 2008

Yup, you want to head south on the Peninsula. Take the BART from Garage G to the Millbrae Intermodal Station (via San Bruno) and then take CalTrain south. Get off at Santa Clara (one stop before San Jose Diridon), and take the free(!) VTA Airport Flyer bus (#10) from the Santa Clara station to the airport terminal. All in all, budget an hour to an hour and a half.

If for some reason there's no stop at Santa Clara, a taxi from the station to the airport is around $10. There's also a light-rail/bus connection from the San Jose train station. VTA.org has details.
posted by mdonley at 6:21 PM on August 1, 2008

...Or more like two hours if the schedules of things don't line up nicely. Sorry!
posted by mdonley at 6:26 PM on August 1, 2008

here is a nice page about shuttle options, costs, and so on. There must be more - I had a flight that was supposed to be to SJC, but the airline dropped me in SFO and then on a bus that went direct.
posted by plinth at 9:26 PM on August 1, 2008

« Older Excel formulas 201...   |   Buy an airplane slide? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.