The public transport system in San Francisco is known as MUNI and operates buses, electric trolley buses and the famous cable cars, as well as metro streetcars (underground trains that become street cars when they emerge above ground). MUNI offers access to all parts of the city; exact change is required, and the same fare applies to all services except the cable cars, which are more expensive. Visitors should note that the cable cars are very popular and crowded. They can be tough to get onto, and slow in getting to destinations. MUNI trains and buses run 24-hours a day, with a more limited service after midnight; buses late at night are not always safe to use.
The other transport system, known as BART, is a fast and economical subway-rail network that connects the city to the East Bay as well as the airport. Taxis are also available in the city but can be hard to find, especially during peak hours. Ride-share taxi services, such as Uber, are also available. During the day the best option is often to walk, as many of the locals do. However, travellers should be prepared to climb a few hills.
San Francisco International
The airport is situated 14 miles (23km) south of San Francisco.
San Francisco International (SFO)
LocationThe airport is situated 14 miles (23km) south of San Francisco.
Getting to the city
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Rapid Rail service connects the airport to the city centre, and provides a connection to the Caltrain commuter rail service at Milbrae Station, from where trains leave regularly to downtown San Francisco and San Jose. SamTrans Service, bus 292, leaves every 30 minutes for the city centre and suburbs. There are also shared vans, which provide a door-to-door service and are cheaper than taxis. Reservations are sometimes needed for service after 11pm. Ride-hailing services, like Uber, are also available.
TimeGMT –8 (GMT –7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
The AirTrain links the terminals to the rental car centre. Car rental companies include Alamo, Avis, Budget, National, Thrifty and Hertz.
Taxis cost from about $47 to $67 for a half hour ride to the city centre, although these rates are very dependent on traffic. Airport employees are available at the taxi pick up area, outside all terminals, to help passengers. Taxi drivers will expect a tip.
Transfer between terminals
The AirTrain light rail service operates on two lines: the Red Line connects all terminals, garages and the BART Station; and the Blue Line connects to the rental car centre. However, the AirTrain does not provide service to the airport's long-term parking lot.
There are banks, bureaux de change and ATMs available. Facilities for the disabled are very good. Other facilities include baggage storage, a medical clinic, bars and restaurants, duty-free, shops, childcare and baby changing facilities, mailboxes, WiFi, tourist information and hotel reservations. There is also a museum, library, art gallery and an aviation history museum within the terminal.
Rates for short-term parking start at $2 per 15 minutes and increase to $36 per 24 hours. Other daily rates available range from $36 per day in the international parking area to $18 per day in the long-term lot.