Caltrain to SFO

May 12, 2008 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

The history of the Caltrain connection to SFO shows our own failure to plan a transit system that works for the users.

Before 2003, a free shuttle operated between Millbrae and SFO, stopping at every terminal.

Since 2003, passengers had to pay $1.50 for a BART ride between Millbrae and the SFO station. The SFO station is located by the International Terminal. Riders to domestic terminals need to walk or transfer to AirTrain.

This year, direct Millbrae-SFO service has been discontinued. Passengers between SFO and Millbrae have to transfer at San Bruno.

The BART extension to Millbrae has not improved the transit connection at all. However, there are other transit alternatives to SFO that doesn’t involve BART.

Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, Menlo Park and Palo Alto – SamTrans KX

Instead of taking Caltrain and BART, you can take the KX bus on El Camino to SFO.

  • SFO stops: All terminals on the lower (arrival) level.
  • Frequency: 30 minutes weekdays and weekends
  • Fare: $1.50 even though it runs on 101 between Hillsdale and the airport. Free if you have a valid Caltrain monthly pass with two zones or more.
  • Note: If you ride from the Airport south, make sure you’re boarding a southbound bus toward Palo Alto. Buses in both directions serve the same stops at the airport.

San Mateo and Burlingame – SamTrans 292

Instead of taking Caltrain and BART, you can take the 292 to SFO. This bus stops at San Mateo, Burlingame and Broadway Caltrain stations: 

  • SFO stops: All terminals on the lower (arrival) level.
  • Frequency: 30 minutes weekdays and weekends
  • Fare: $1.50. Free if you have a valid Caltrain monthly pass with two zones or more.
  • Note: If you ride from the Airport south, make sure you’re boarding a southbound bus toward Hillsdale. Buses in both directions serve the same stops at the airport.

Elsewhere along the Caltrain line south of Millbrae

You can transfer from Caltrain to SamTrans KX or the 292. If you want to transfer to KX, get off Caltrain at San Carlos or Belmont Station. These stations are located adjacent to El Camino. If you want to transfer to 292, get off at Broadway Station (weekends only). The transfer to KX is a good option on weekends because the trains and the buses are better timed, and you don’t have to endure every train stop on your way to Millbrae.

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Entry filed under: Transit advice.

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