My sister and I are flying to San Francisco next month for our baby cousin's graduation from UC Berkeley! There's a lot of family flying in, so I'd rather not bother anyone for a ride. What's the best way to get to UC Berkeley from SFO? Is there a bus or should we just take a taxi?
There's a train you can take and it's handier than a cab! It's called BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), and it runs through several San Francisco Bay Area cities. It's about a 40 minute ride and currently costs $8.80 to ride from the airport to the Downtown Berkeley station, which is walking distance to UC Berkeley. It's what a lot of students take to school.
So here's the long story short: hop on the BART train at SFO, transfer at MacArthur, then get off in Downtown Berkeley. Now here it is in more detail:
The SFO BART station is at the International Terminal, so just follow the signs that say AirTrain or BART. From any other terminal, you could also walk there, but it'll be faster for you to take the free AirTrain (just 1-3 minutes versus a 10-15 minute walk). Just follow the signs to AirTrain and hop on the red line. Once you arrive at the stop for the BART station, just head downstairs and follow the signs to the BART station (you'll see it right away).
Here are more specific details from the official BART website, 'The BART station at SFO is located in the International Terminal. It's a short walk from United Airlines in Terminal 3 and a slightly longer walk from Terminal 1. You can also take the free AirTrain from both terminals directly to the BART station. Just follow the signs to AirTrain and board the Red Line train. When you arrive, take the escalator down to the departures level and walk straight ahead to the BART station. Terminals 1, 2 & 3 are approximately a one to three-minute AirTrain ride to the BART station.'
There train system has a lot of different lines, but there's only one that goes from SFO to anywhere else, so hop on that one. Then when you get to the MacArthur Station in Oakland, there will be a Richmond line train waiting directly across the platform and if not, one will be coming very soon. It's very easy to transfer -- the train conductor will tell you where and when to transfer and there are maps on every train.
By the way, bear in mind that depending on the day, BART operates from around 4'ish AM to around 12:30-1 AM (Check their website for a more accurate schedule: bart.gov). Most people don't have an issue early flights, but some people may have issues with flights that come in very late.
If you do happen to miss the BART train, take a shuttle or flag down a cab on the curbside. The upside when you get in that late is that there will likely be no traffic.
Have fun at the graduation!
If you get in during the hours of operation of BART, that is definitely the way to go! It's a train that runs from about 4 AM till midnight and there's a station right at the airport that you can take into Berkeley. The Downtown Berkeley BART Station is where you would get off to go to the campus, which is walking distance away.
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You can follow the signs at the airport and get on BART, the best and easiest way to travel. Check out the map at the station and decide where you want to go. You will not need a taxi. You can also go to the BART website and plan your trip. It will tell you the schedule and the price.