San Francisco offers a diverse range of transportation alternatives, including MUNI, BART and Caltrain. While not the worst place to drive in the nation, the City does have a rush hour that sometimes causes traffic snarls. And parking remains a source of constant frustration, no matter what the time of day. So why not leave your car at home and make a choice that's better for the environment, your budget and your sanity?
- If you are intimidated by the intricacy of the mass transit system — all those strangely named bus routes, like the 38BX and the 91-OWL — just consult the online TakeTransit Trip Planner. Brought to you by 511 Transit, the Trip Planner easily clears away the confusion. All you have to do is plug in the addresses of your starting and finishing points. The Trip Planner will tell you which bus, streetcar and/or train to catch, and will calculate your travel time, too.
511 Transit offers information on all public transportation options for the Bay Area, maintaining an impressive database of schedules, maps, routes and fares. You’ll find details on everything from AC Transit to the Yountville Shuttle — with particulars on BART, MUNI, and Caltrain.
- BART's Web site also offers the award winning online QuickPlanner, a service similar to 511 Transit’s Trip Planner. You will also be able to browse through schedules, view route maps, and purchase tickets.
- On that note, be sure to watch for the new TransLink card, a “stored value” pass for use on any of the various mass transit systems in the area. Currently, TransLink is accepted on AC Transit, Dumbarton Express and Golden Gate Transit & Ferry. Muni and Caltrain began accepting TransLink on all routes during summer 2008. BART will begin accepting TransLink in the fall of 2008, followed by SamTrans and Santa Clara VTA in 2009..
- Finally, take a look at 511 Transit’s Bicycling Resource Guide to explore yet another alternative to driving your car to work. You can view Bay Area bicycle maps, get details about taking bikes on public transportation, and more.