How To Get To SFO On BART?

STOP!!Do not travel BART without reading this...

Planning to visit SFO or any other place in the Bay area? Read my experience for a safe trip to SFO on BART.





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    Cheap Travel To Downtown San Francisco

    Bay Area Rapid Transit|BART


    I visited San Francisco (SFO) along with my wife and kid in the month of March 2019


    I am not super comfortable driving in big cities and I had heard about SFO traffic and parking hassles so I was very clear that I will be using public transportation during our visit.

    Options from SFO Airport to Downtown or anywhere in the Bay area

    I had the following options to reach downtown SFO

    ⇒ Rent a Car
    ⇒ Take Uber / Lyft
    ⇒ Take Airport shuttles
    ⇒ Take Taxi
    ⇒ Take public transit system- BART

    Rent a car was out of the equation for me due to my fear of driving in big cities 😰

    I believe that the journey is as important as the destinationπŸ˜‡.

    To actually know the city, the best thing is to use what the common man use i.e public transport system.


    Metro and buses are where we can actually see the hustle and bustle of the people living in the city.

    Uber / Lyft, Airport shuttles, Taxi have their own environment which is almost the same in all the cities 

    So BART was the obvious choice 😊.

    What is Bay Area Rapid Transit|BART?

    BART is the short form or acronym for Bay Area Rapid Transit which is the SFO subway system πŸš‡.

    How do you get to BART?

    San Francisco Airport to Downtown

    Once you land at the SFO airport, just follow the signs towards AirTrain

    AirTrain is the 24X7 internal airport transit system that is free and will take you to the BART station. You can onboard the metro and reach your destination.

    If you are not at Airport, then get a Cab or public transport or just walk to reach the nearest BART station

    How to buy a BART Ticket at SFO?

    πŸ§’ Children under the age of 4 go free!! 

    Once you reach BART station, you have the following options for buying tickets:

    ⇒ Buy Clipper (Reusable plastic card)
    ⇒ Buy paper ticket (Not re-usable and will be discontinued)
    ⇒ Buy online (only from and to Airport)

    The ticket vending machines accept all credit, debit cards, and cash. Make sure to carry exact change if paying by cash as there are no returns in the machine. 😏



    At the time of writing, this blog following options was available as per https://www.bart.gov/tickets/sales/machines


    Does BART accept Debit/ATM Cards:

    BART accepts Visa,Star, Interlink, Maestro, NYCE, and Accel.

    Clipper: Clipper cards are dispensed 1 card per transaction. You can use that debit card 5 times per day to purchase Clipper cards individually, so you can purchase a maximum of 5 Clipper cards in a day with the same debit card. 

    BART Tickets: Purchase a minimum of $2.50 to a maximum of $69 in 5-cent and $1.00 increments. 

    NOTE: You can purchase up to 5 tickets per transaction but you are limited to 3 transactions per debit card per day.

    Does BART accept Cash?

    $1, $5, $10, or $20 bills up to a maximum of 15 bills. Coins and bills accepted.

    Clipper: Clipper cards are dispensed 1 Clipper card per transaction. Multiple Clipper cards can be purchased with cash using multiple individual transactions.

    BART Tickets: BART Blue - Available in $2.50 to $69 denominations in 5-cent and $1.00 increments .

    Discount tickets are only sold at selected retail sales locations throughout the Bay Area and through the mail.

    Group Sales:

    Visit our Ticket Sales page for information about purchasing Group Tickets or School Sponsored Field Trip tickets.

     I got online tickets as there was a 25% discount on it 😊

    How to ride BART from SFO?

    If you are not used to metro travel, you will have to either tap the clipper card on the slot near the entrance/exit gate and the gate opens allowing one person at a time.

    In case of a paper ticket, insert the ticket in the slot at the gate and the gate opens allowing one person at a time.



    In case of an online ticket, just flash the ticket to the attendant and they will open the gate for you, VIP treatment πŸ˜‡

    BART Map

    Make sure to check the BART map to know which line metro to board / un-board for your destination station.

    SFO airport to downtown map



    San Francisco BART Stations:

    The SFO BART map lists all the stations, on which line (Yellow, Red, Blue, etc) these stations are, and where you need to get down to get a connecting metro.

    BART Experience

    Pros:

    Traveling in BART was very comfortable, just avoid the peak office time and you will be able to travel pretty comfortably.

    BART Map is pretty self-explanatory, just get comfortable with it and you will never miss or board the wrong train.


    Check indicators carefully before boarding a train.

    Cons:

    I found the BART coach not very clean. We had to change our coach once as there were human excreta and it smelled horrible.

    After 8PM, you may find homeless or drug addicts in the metro, even though we did not get troubled by them but we were not very comfortable.

    Not all the BART stations have restrooms 😠

    Other travel options:

    I found this blog very exhaustive if you want to explore other travel options from SFO Airport


    San Francisco BART Day Pass

    I found the SFO metro among the costlier ones. At the time of writing this post, It did not have the concept of 1 Day pass or a 7-day pass. It charges as per the distance and not time.


    San Francisco International Airport

    SFO airport is one of the most crowded airports in the world. It is huge in size, make sure you arrive at the airport well in time else the long queues may give you jitters.

    The good thing is the seamless connectivity with Metro.


    BART Ratings

    Glassdoor
    TripAdvisor

    BART FAQ:

    1. Does SFO BART accept Credit Cards?

    BART accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. 

    2. How to get  BART Online ticket?

    To get an online ticket, you will have to download the "BART to Airport" app.

    Do not confuse this with BART(Official) app, these are two different apps.

    Select the destination in the app and pay by credit card.

    Note: All tickets from Airport attracts a $4.55 surcharge πŸ˜’ 

    Does the BART go to SFO?

    Yes, the BART goes to SFO- International Airport, Downtown and a lot of places in SFO. Check the map above.

    Can you take a BART from SFO to Oakland airport?

    Yes, you can take BART from SFO or any place in bay area to Oakland airport. Depending on your starting point, you may have to change the BART line (check the map above).

    What time is the first BART to SFO?

    BART operates from 5am to 9pm on weekdays and 8am to 9pm on Saturday, Sunday.

    Conclusions:

    I will still prefer BART to other traveling options to avoid traffic, parking problems and to get the actual feel of the city.πŸ‘


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