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Getting from San Francisco Airport to City Centre

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How to get from San Francisco Airport to City Centre

Once you arrive at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), there are three transport options to downtown San Francisco and the Union Square. You can choose between taxi, metro and bus. Taxis at San Francisco Airport operate 24/7 and the journey time to the city centre of San Francisco is 35 minutes on average. For a ride with 5 passengers you can expect the fare to be around 51€ (56USD). If you prefer to travel by metro, you can board the yellow line of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) towards Antioch from the airport of San Francisco. Trains pass by the airport station roughly every 18 minutes and a single ticket costs 8.75€ (9.65USD). Taking the bus is your third option for a direct service towards the Union Square in central San Francisco. Buses 292 and 398 operate every day with different frequency. A normal ride to downtown San Francisco takes 75 minutes and the ticket is 2€ (2.25USD). There are also shuttle buses that can take you to San Francisco city centre, but there are no scheduled services and you need to prebook. The train network is also not convenient for a transfer to the city.

Comparison of the options

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

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 Centre or Powell Street stations, both at a walking distance from the Union Square downtown. The journey duration is 27 minutes and a single ticket costs 8.75€ (9.65USD).

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

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

Cost

8.75€

Trip Duration

18 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 5.11am-11.54pm, Saturdays 6.07am-11.54pm and Sundays 8.17am-11.56pm.

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. Follow the signs to BART and you will reach the metro station. To get to the city, you need to ride the train towards Antioch and get off after 9 stops.

Convenience

BART offers a quite convenient transfer to the city centre of San Francisco and relatively easy access to the Union Square. You will have to walk either from the Civic Centre or Powell Street stations to the Union Square or 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 metro station, you can ride the airport Air Train fore 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.

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How to get from San Francisco Airport to city centre by taxi

San Francisco airport taxis 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 at SFO are metered, so you pay the fare on arrival. The fare for up to 5 passengers to most city centre locations, including the Union Square, is 51€ (56USD) on average, and the journey duration is 35 minutes.

Taxi fare from San Francisco Airport to the city centre

The taxi fare to San Francisco city centre from the airport of San Francisco is approximately 51€ (56USD) for a ride with up to 5 passengers. Taxis are metered and you pay for the ride at the end of the journey. There is also a surcharge of 3.6€ (4USD) for taxi rides starting at SFO.

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

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Convenience

Travelling by taxi to the city centre of San Francisco, where you can visit the Union Square and other major attractions of the city, is a very convenient transport option, taxis are always available at the airport and they provide a door-to-door service. As taxis are metered, you get to pay for the exact duration of your journey. Taxis can be shared between 5 passengers, which can help reduce the cost per person.

Editor’s Note

You will find uniformed taxi coordinators at the taxi zones of SFO from 7am to 2.15pm, to help you get a taxi and arrange your trip.

Useful Tips

App-based taxis have different pick-up locations from regular airport taxis.

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 the Union Square. Journey duration is 75 minutes on average for both buses, but bus service 292 is more frequent than 398. You can board 292 every 27 minutes and 398 every 57 minutes. 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. The bus ticket to downtown San Francisco is 2€ (2.25USD). See below for more information on bus 292.

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€ (2.25USD). 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 4.30am-1.40am, Saturdays 4.30am-1.32am and Sundays 4.30am-1.22am. Bus 398 operates Monday to Friday 5.48am-10.36pm, Saturdays 6.34am-10.26pm and Sundays 5.42am-9.44pm.

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.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get from San Francisco Airport to the city?

You can choose between taxi, metro or bus for your transport to the city centre of San Francisco.

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

A taxi to Union Square from San Francisco Airport will be around 51€ (56USD).

How much is Fisherman's Wharf from Airport?

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

Does BART go from the airport to the Union Square?

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

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