THESan Francisco International Airport is located in the locality San Bruno, just 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco. Whether you are landing here on a direct flight or have already made a stopover in the United States, you will need some information on what the connections from the airport to San Francisco - more precisely at Powell Station on Market St., a strategic reference point for those who travel by public transport and want to get as close as possible to Union Square (Downtown).
The fastest and most effective method of transfer from the airport to downtown San Francisco is the public train service BART, but for added convenience, you can also take a taxi or a shuttle to get directly to the hotel. In this article I want to give you all the useful information and some tips to organize transfers from San Francisco airport to the city center and vice versa in the most comfortable and agile way possible.
- How to move from the airport with the BART
- Hours and prices
- Other stations in town
- BART map
- Can you take the bus?
- From the airport to San Francisco by taxi or shuttle
How to move from the airport with the BART
First of all, here it is how to reach the BART trains from the various airport terminals.
- International flight: the BART station is located in the Boarding Area inside theInternational Terminal G, so if you landed on a flight from Europe you can walk there after collecting your luggage, using the escalators or the elevator to reach the departures level. Don't worry: the station is well indicated.
- Internal flight: if you have arrived in San Francisco having made a stopover in an American airport (as it once happened to me, so ask yourself), it is certainly not convenient for you to walk all the way to the station, loaded with luggage: you can use theAirTrain, a nice elevated train free which connects all the terminals together, also leading to the BART station and the car rental offices. The AirTrain lines are two, Red and Blue: as we have already said in our article on car rental at San Francisco airport, only the Blue Line leads to Rental Car Station, but both lead to the BART station.
To help you understand, here's one San Francisco airport map.
Caltrain? Looking at this map, you will notice a yellow arrow corresponding to the Caltrain. What is it about? Even I, when I first arrived at the airport, did not understand the difference between BART and Caltrain. The difference is that Caltrain trains do not arrive in downtown San Francisco, but end their run at Caltrain Station di SoMA (cost 6 $), which makes them practically useless for a tourist. These trains are more useful for those who have to go from Gilroy / San Jose to San Francisco or vice versa however - if for some reason you have to take one - please note that at the airport you will have to get on the bus first Route SFO di SamTrans to Millbrae Station, from where you can take the train.
Hours and prices
When you have reached the station, you will need to purchase the ticket for San Francisco at the cost of 9.65$ ($ 9.15 with the Clipper Card): you can do it at the machines on site or buy them in advance in the form of a voucher to be exchanged at the SFO Information Booth, located in the immediate vicinity of the station. Trains run every 15-20 minutes (so 3-4 times every hour) and take about 30 minutes to get to San Francisco.
Below i Bart's schedules from Powell Station and the airport:
- Da Powell Station: 5 AM – 1:07 PM
- From the airport: 4:11 AM - 11:54 PM
- Departures from Powell Station: 7:05 AM - 1:35 AM
- Departure from the airport: 6:07 AM - 11:54 PM
- Departures from Powell Station: 8:34 AM - 1:06 AM
- Departure from the airport: 8:07 AM - 11:54 PM
Other stations in town
The times shown are for Powell Station, but remember they are there 5 other stations in town which may be useful to you (the price from the airport does not change). From south to north, you will encounter:
- 16th e 24 Mission: in the neighborhood of the same name south of downtown San Francisco. I don't know how much they can serve you, unless you want to explore the Latin American quarter of San Francisco.
- Civic Center – UN Plaza: in case you have had the unfortunate idea of taking accommodation in Tenderloin or SoMa, two of the most dangerous neighborhoods in San Francisco. However, there are some museums and attractions to visit nearby, and this station may still come in handy.
- Montgomery: not far from Chinatown and the Financial District.
- Pier: ideal for getting close to the Ferry Building.
Can you take the bus?
I bus di SamTrans represent a slightly cheaper solution (the ticket costs 4 $) but definitely slow (more than an hour of travel) and inconvenient if you have a lot of luggage: the lines leading to the center are there 292, 397 and 398. Here's where to find bus stops for San Francisco:
- Terminal 2: on the arrivals level, on the central island near Courtyard 2
- Terminal 3: on the arrivals level, on the sidewalk in front of Courtyard 4
- International Terminal: on the first floor in Courtyard A and on the sidewalk next to Courtyard G.
From the airport to San Francisco by taxi or shuttle
Although it is very effective, the BART does not have the capillarity of a subway, and in fact the four stations in downtown San Francisco are all located on the route of Market Street, close to Union Square but away from a good portion of San Francisco's neighborhoods and attractions.
If you have picked up the hotel in one of the neighborhoods north of downtown, after reaching Powell Station or Embarcadero you will have to take one or more Muni buses, which is highly inadvisable if you have a lot of luggage. This is why in some cases it may be worthwhile reach the hotel from the airport with taxi or a private / shared shuttle.Taxi fares taxi from the airport it costs from $ 40 to $ 80. The fare varies: it depends on the city traffic and the area of San Francisco you need to reach. Under normal traffic conditions, you shouldn't have to spend more than $ 60 to get to even the most distant areas.
At the link below you will find some very interesting shuttle services, which in some cases can be even cheaper than a taxi.
Transfers to and from the airport by shuttle
The best service for the quality of the reviews is this: shared shuttle transfer from the airport to the hotel. The price at the moment is 15 euro per person.