About The Bay logo. San Francisco cityscape with cable car and Golden Gate bridge.
Get Out and About The Bay Monday, Aug. 8, 2022

Getting Around

If you are coming from out of town then first you need to get to the Bay Area. You have your choice of traveling by Plane, Train, or Automobile.


There are three major airports in the Bay Area.

If you happen to be a pilot with your own small plane, then you can also fly into a number of smaller airports...which if you are a pilot you will be well aware of this.

Trains & Buses

San Francisco Muni

Buses & Lightrail

San Francisco's Municipal Transporation system is the best in the Bay Area. The city is relatively small and buses and trains are plentiful. It costs $1.50 for adults and only $.50 for disabled persons, seniors, and children to ride a bus or train line and you get 1 free transfer...make sure to take a transfer when you board because that is also proof you paid your fare should you be asked for it. Many residents of SF purchase monthly passes which can save you a lot of money if you ride frequently.

Once you are familiar with the buses and trains it is relatively easy to get around the city.

San Francisco Cable Cars

It costs $5.00 to ride a cable car. You can however purchase a day pass which gives you unlimited rides all day.

Check www.sfmuni.com for more information and the latest news on fares.


Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) is a train line that runs from Daly City, San Francisco International Airport and Downtown San Francisco to points in the East Bay. The train travels beneath the San Francisco Bay.

Check www.bart.gov for more information.


Check www.caltrain.com for more information.


Check www.amtrak.com for more information.

Greyhound Buslines

There are bus stations in the following bay area cities:

  • Gilroy
  • Hayward
  • Livermore
  • Oakland
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Santa Cruz
  • Sunnyvale
  • Watsonville

Check www.greyhound.com for more information.

Automobiles & Rental Cars

If you plan to visit areas outside major cities, a car is recommended because distances are great and public transportation is not as quick and easy as in San Francisco and some other large cities.

Everyone has heard about California traffic. The most famous traffic is in Southern California's Los Angeles area but the San Francisco Bay Area has it's own traffic problems. To find out information about current traffic status call 817-1717 from any Bay Area area code or visit: traffic.511.org

You may want to prepare yourself if you are not used to driving in big city conditions with a multitude of one-way streets and no left turns plus lanes dedicated for only buses and taxis at certain times.

The Streets of San Francisco

San Francisco is by far the most difficult Bay Area city to drive in. As you are most assuredly aware, San Francisco has some pretty good-size hills. If you are driving in San Francisco here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Watch Out for Pedestrians in the crosswalk! Pedestrians have the right of way.
  • Watch Out for Cyclists! Cyclists also have a right to the road just as much as you.
  • Watch Out for Red Lights! Be aware that many streets have stoplights on the corners and not hanging over the intersection.
  • When going up a steep hill, give the car in front of you plenty of space to roll back just in case they are driving a vehicle with a manual transmission.
  • When going up or down a steep hill you may want to shift to a lower gear so as not to over-tax the engine or brakes.
  • Be aware that many streets are one-way.
  • Be aware that there are no Left-turns on many streets. You will need to typically drive one or two blocks beyond the street you wanted to turn left at and then make a Right-turn, Right-turn, Right-turn to in a sense circle back to the street you wanted. In case you are wondering, this prevents back-ups and gridlock.
  • Watch Out for lanes that are reserved for buses and right-turns only between certain hours.
  • Watch Out for Cable-cars! Do not block a cable car lane.
  • You would be wise to familiarize yourself with a map and plan your route well...or just stick to pulic transportation, it is typically easier to get around and potentially cheaper!

Bridges and Tolls

All bridges heading into San Francisco have a toll you must pay.

Bay Bridge (Rt 80)

  • Westbound from Oakland into San Francisco will cost cars $3.00.
  • Eastbound, out of San Francisco is FREE.

Golden Gate Bridge (Rt 1/101)

  • Southbound from Marin into San Francisco will cost cars $5.00
  • Northbound out of San Francisco is FREE.

Be aware of Carpool and FasTrak Only Lanes when crossing bridges. FasTrak is an automated debit system. You carry a device in your car that is sensed as you pass through FasTrak designated lanes and then debits your prepaid account. Thus allowing you to not have to stop and pay a physical toll.

Check www.511.org for more transit and traffic information.

Taxis & Shuttle Services

Taxis are relatively easy to find in the downtown areas of San Francisco. In other areas of San Francisco and in other Bay Area cities it is a different story. You will need to call for a taxi. Consult your hotel concierge or front desk or the phone book.

Limousine Services

If you are fortunate enough to be a millionaire you can hire a limousine to drive you every where you need to go.

If you are not a millionaire you can still use a limousince service for special evening out or celebration or if you have a bunch of people to split the cost with. You can actually get a fair deal with some limo companies.



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