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Transportation options from San Francisco Airport to Downtown

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is the biggest and one of four airports situated in the San Francisco Bay area. It is situated 13 miles (20 km) south of downtown San Francisco. Once you arrive at SFO, there are 4 transport options from San Francisco airport to the city centre and Union Square. You can either take a taxi, a private shuttle, a metro or a bus.

Taxis and private shuttles operate 24/7 from San Francisco airport and the journey time to the city centre is around 35 minutes. If you prefer to travel by metro, you can board the yellow line at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). Trains pass through the airport station roughly every 18 minutes. Taking the bus is your last option for a direct service towards the Union Square in central San Francisco. Buses 292 and 398 operate every day and a normal ride to downtown San Francisco takes 1 hour 15 minutes. Moreover, there are also shuttle buses that can take you to San Francisco city centre, but there are no scheduled services and you will need to book your trip in advance. Welcome Pickups offers meet and greet services and a friendly introduction to San Francisco at the same price as a regular taxi. Click here to see the cost.

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  • 20 minute gap between transfers

  • Regular Car Sanitisation

  • Contactless ride

  • Sanitiser in every car

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Comparison of the options

PRICE FOR 2PASSENGERS
OPTION PRICE DURATION AVAILABILITY
Taxi or shuttle bus €51 35min 24/7
Welcome Pickups min 24/7 Book
Book
Metro €17.5 27min 05:11–23:56
Bus €4 75min 04:30–01:40

How to get from San Francisco airport to the city centre by taxi or shuttle bus

Taxis and San Francisco airport private shuttles are available 24/7. To get a taxi from San Francisco Airport (SFO) to downtown San Francisco, you need to walk to the arrivals/baggage claim level at all airport terminals. Taxis in SFO are metered, therefor the fare is based on the time and distance travelled. However, the estimate price for up to 5 passengers to most city centre locations, including Union Square, is around $56USD (€51). If you wish to travel on a set rate fare, you can book a private shuttle in advance, and avoid any hassle or hidden fees. Both taxis and private shuttles take approximately 35 minutes from SFO airport to downtown.

Taxi fare from San Francisco airport to the city centre

Taxi fares to San Francisco city centre from the airport cost approximately $56USD (€51) for a ride with up to 5 passengers. Taxis are metered so your total fare will be based on the time and distance travelled. Please note that you will have to pay an extra fee of $4USD (€3.60) for taxis leaving SFO airport. However, by booking a private shuttle in advance, you are guaranteed a fixed price, no matter how long the journey, with on-time pickups and no waiting time at any taxi rank.

Taxi prices
Day time
(05:00–24:00)
Night time
(00:00–05:00)
Duration
FROM SFO TO CITY CENTRE OF SAN FRANCISCO
€51
€51
35
FROM SFO TO HOTELS IN CITY CENTRE
€51
€51
35
FROM SFO TO UNION SQUARE
€51
€51
35
FROM SFO TO NAPA VALLEY
€180
€180
120
FROM SFO TO SAN JOSE
€68
€68
50

Convenience

Taking a taxi or private shuttle to the city centre of San Francisco, where you can visit Union Square, Civic Center and other major attractions of the city, are very convenient transport options. Taxis and shuttles are always available at the airport and provide a door-to-door service. Taxis and private shuttle fares can be shared between 5 passengers, which helps reduce the cost per person.

Editor’s Note

You will find uniformed taxi coordinators at the taxi zones of SFO from 07:00 to 01:00, in order to help you get a taxi and arrange your trip.

Useful Tips

App-based taxis have different pick-up locations from regular airport taxis.
If you want the smoothest travel experience, it is recommended to book a private shuttle in advance.

How to get from San Francisco Airport to the city centre by metro

Using the metro for your San Francisco Airport transfer to the city centre of San Francisco is a convenient and affordable option. The BART metro system operates every day and trains stop at the International Terminal of the airport every 15-20 minutes. Take the yellow line towards Antioch and get off at Civic Center or Powell Street stations, both at a walking distance from Union Square and the rest of downtown San Fransisco. The journey duration is 27 minutes and a single ticket costs 9.65USD (€8.75).

How much is the metro from SFO Airport to downtown San Francisco?

A metro ticket to the city centre of San Francisco is 9.65USD (€8.75) for a single ride. You can purchase your San Francisco city centre ticket at the Airport BART station using the automatic vending machines and paying either in cash or by credit card.

Cost

€8.75

Trip Duration

27 Min.

*Trains pass every 15 minutes Monday-Friday and every 20 minutes Saturdays and Sundays.

Convenience
Safety
Value for Money

The BART yellow metro line operates at San Francisco Airport Monday to Friday 05:11 - 23:54, Saturdays 06:07 - 23:54 and Sundays 08:17 - 23:56.

Where do I get it from?

To board the yellow line of the Bay Area Rapid Transit, you need to get to the International Terminal at SFO and just follow the signs to BART station. To get to the city centre, you need to ride the train towards Antioch and get off after 9 stops.

Convenience

BART offers quite a convenient transfer to the city centre of San Francisco and relatively easy access to Union Square. You will have to walk either from the Civic Center or Powell Street stations to your hotel. Also, bear in mind there is no after-midnight service to the city centre.

Editor’s Note

If you don't land at the International Terminal and you want to get to the BART station, you can ride the airport Air Train for free. The Air Train circles the airport of San Francisco. Alternatively, if you don't carry lots of luggage, you can also walk to the International Terminal.

Useful Tips

There is no need to purchase a ticket for children aged 4 or under as they ride the metro for free.
There are more ticket and card options available if you plan on using the metro system frequently while in San Francisco.

How to get from San Francisco Airport to the city centre by bus

There are two buses that can take you from San Francisco Airport to downtown San Francisco: 292 and 398. Bus 292 will take you to Market Street and bus 398 will take you to Mission Street - both very close to Union Square. Journey duration is 75 minutes on average for both options, but bus service 292 is more frequent than 398. You can board 292 every 27 minutes and 398 every 57 minutes.

How much is the bus from San Francisco Airport to the city centre?

The bus ticket to the city centre of San Francisco from the International Airport of San Francisco costs 2.25USD (€2). You can purchase your ticket on board paying in cash, using a Clipper Card or by downloading your ticket through the samTrans mobile app.

Cost

€2

Trip Duration

75 Min.

*Buses run with reduced frequency on weekends and late at night.

Convenience
Safety
Value for Money

Bus 292 operates Monday to Friday 04:30 - 01:40, Saturdays 04:30 - 01:32 and Sundays 04:30 - 01:22. Bus 398 operates Monday to Friday 05:48 - 22:36, Saturdays 06:34 - 22:26 and Sundays 05:42 - 21:44.

Where do I get it from?

In order to ride bus 292, you have to go to the Lower Arrivals Level Courtyard A at T1, the centre island at T2 and the curbside at T3. There are signs at the San Francisco Airport to guide you towards the bus stops.

Convenience

Taking the bus to downtown San Francisco is not the most convenient transport option, as frequency is lower than the metro and the journey duration is longer. It takes 75 minutes for the bus to reach the city centre from the airport of San Francisco. Duration depends heavily on traffic conditions, so it may take even longer in the end if traffic conditions are worse than normal.

Editor’s Note

There are more buses to different destinations in and out of the city centre of San Francisco. You can also opt for a connecting bus service, if it suits your itinerary.

Useful Tips

Consider getting a Clipper Card for the San Francisco bus network as it offers lower fares.
After you get off the bus, Union Square is just a 10-minute walk away.

Welcome Pickups transfer

Welcome Pickups

Book a trained, English-speaking taxi driver to pick you up at the same price as a regular cab from the line

If you feel more relaxed knowing that somebody is waiting for you, you may as well book a Welcome Pickups transfer. As soon as you arrive at the airport you will be greeted by your driver. He will be waiting for you at the terminal of your arrival with a sign that has your name on it. Your driver will help you out with your luggage and together you will make your way to the vehicle. While he is driving you to your accommodation, the driver can give you some tips and recommendations on what to do during your holidays in San francisco. Our drivers are hand-picked and speak fluent English. No need to worry about miscommunication issues that you may face with the local taxi drivers regarding your destination. Relax and enjoy your ride.

Best drivers

Hand-picked english-speaking drivers

Flight monitoring

Drivers are always on time

Quality support

24/7 email & phone support

Cancel up to 24h before and get a refund

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Frequently asked questions

How do I get from San Francisco airport to the city centre?

When travelling from the airport, you can either take a taxi, a private shuttle, a metro or a bus.

How much is a taxi from San Francisco Airport to Union Square?

A taxi fare to Union Square from San Francisco Airport will be around $56USD(€51). If you wish to travel on a set price, you can book a private shuttle in advance.

How far is Fisherman's Wharf from San Francisco airport?

Fisherman's Wharf is 25km (16 miles) north of San Francisco airport.

Does BART go from the airport to Union Square?

You can use BART at San Francisco airport to get to Civic Centre or Powell Street Stations located close to Union Square in downtown San Francisco.

Pre-book online