Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Leaving for week-long vacation, but let me leave you with some thoughts about the SFO route

As critical as I can be sometimes about what goes on during my daily BART rides, BART does have merits. One in particular that I'd like to point out again is the SFO route. Many of us dread the long trek to SFO and the $10+ per day we must pay for parking. It is not easy to find a friend or parent to drop you off and pick you up, and taxis would be way too expensive if you're coming from the East Bay. And of course, the stuffy and overcrowded Super Shuttle is not exactly a desired alternative either.

I was skeptical when I first heard about the SFO-bound trains. I didn't think it would be convenient to carry luggage on BART and I also questioned the proximity of the BART stop to actual terminals. But, it is so rider-friendly and worth every penny. You arrive in front of the terminal tram, which then takes you to your desired terminal.

Sure, it could get a bit uncomfortable with all your luggage stacked in front of your legs, and yes, you may get a few dirty looks for taking up some free standing room. But, especially for those who take extended trips, $10 RT (approximately) on BART is the most cost-effective solution yet. You don't need to deal with parking lot shuttles that rarely come around, nor the horrible 101 traffic.

The transfer at Balboa station is not bad at all! Usually, the SFO train comes in less than 6 minutes.

From my station, the ride takes about 55 minutes, including the transfer, but you save on gas and extended parking, or taxi/shuttle fare. Of course I don't enjoy riding the train for an hour, but with a good magazine in hand, the time flies by! And on the way back home from SFO, you will always get a seat!

I can't say the same for the Oakland Airport route (AirBART is a bit sketchy), but it definitely is an option I'd consider if I am going way for more than 5 days.

After reading this SFGate article,, I just wanted to share that despite all my grumblings, taking BART to SFO is not bad at all.

Now, do I sound like a BART spokesperson or what? Nah...I'm just telling the truth, as I always do...which will include the bad and the good!


Anonymous said...

There's usually more room for luggage in the first car (which will be closest to the international terminal) or last car.

Unfortunately, due to the San Mateo county funding situation, midday trains are usually short, and often crowded.

Josh said...

I have used BART to SFO several times in the past for business trips, and it was definitely very convenient. The only downside is that after-work flights from the east coast often come in rather late, and if you end up landing much past 11 PM, by the time you claim your bags and make it to the BART platform, the last train of the night has already left. Small complaint however... overall it is generally cheaper, faster, and easier than any other method of getting to the airport.