South Bay Area to SFO

I live near the Caltrain station in Mountain View, and will have an international flight to catch on a Friday at 1:30pm. Being a bit adventurous, I started looking into ways to get to SFO without driving. Um… why not start with Caltrain?

Here is the Caltrain schedule… get yourself comfortable with the huge table. A ruler might help.
http://www.caltrain.com/timetable.html

Apparently Caltrain won’t take me to SFO, but it could take me to Millbrae or San Bruno. Close enough. Notice that San Bruno is in one zone further, it will cost $6 instead of $4.25 (Fares and Zones as of May 6, 2010). But that’s not the main concern for now.

Let’s see what’s at the Millbrae station. Here is the detail description of the Millbrae Intermodal Terminal. It turns out BART goes there, and so is SamTrans.

Further digging on SamTrans tells me that, there are routes (e.g. 397) connecting SFO with Palo Alto Caltrain station, and other surrounding cities. You can check it yourself at http://www.samtrans.com/system_map.html. But there isn’t one for Mountain View…

Um… what about BART? Check out their official schedule at http://www.bart.gov/schedules/byline.aspx. Hey! It seems like Millbrae and SFO are connected! Wait, there is some text next to it, it says: MON-FRI after 7pm, SAT-SUN all day… Sadly, that means that section won’t work for me on Friday in the day. I will need to take Northbound to San Bruno, then Southbound to SFO…

Perhaps Caltrain and BART are connected at San Bruno? Nope. See San Bruno (Caltrain station) and San Bruno (BART station) for more info.

OK… I am getting a little headache here…

Then I found this great site: http://511.org/. Just fill out the form, it will help you find the best route!

Well… let’s try it out. For “Start”, I put in “Caltrain Mountain View Station”, “Mountain View”. For “End”, I just put in SFO. For time I put in 10am, and Friday, then click “Plan Trip”. If the address is not recognizable, you will be given a list of addresses to choose from. Then here comes the magical moment, I am given 4 possible trips with Caltrain and the connecting bus info. It turns out that getting off Caltrain at the Burlingame Station or Redwood city is the best choice.

Here is a screenshot of it:

There is even a google map next to the directions showing you where exactly are the train stations and bus stops, with the route highlighted.

Amazing service! 511.org it is! You guys rock! What was I doing this past whole hour going through all those web pages? Try it out people!

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