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Getting Around San Francisco

Getting Around San Francisco

Muni Transportation - Buses, Trolleys, and Cable Cars

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, known as Muni, operates buses, streetcars, and cable cars throughout the city. For complete schedules and updated fare information see the Muni website.

Bus Routes in San Francisco

Muni operates 80 bus routes in San Francisco. Bus routes have both a number and a street name (such as the 1 - California). The route and destination can be found on the front of the bus, above the windshield. You can buy a ticket (basic fare is currently $2) on the bus but you will need exact change. It includes a transfer ticket, good for ninety minutes. You can also buy a Muni Passport (good for unlimited transportation for 1, 3, or 7 days) at stores displaying a Muni sign or at Muni Ticket offices.

Bus stops usually have a sign with the route number of buses that stop there. Some also have an automated system that shows the wait time for the next bus. Most bus routes don't run late at night and some operate only during business hours.

Tip: If you plan to do much traveling by bus, buy a Muni map that shows all the routes and lists operating hours.

Historic Streetcars

Streetcars or trolleys are part of the Muni system and are the same price as the buses.  Historic streetcars, bought from all over the world and refurbished, run along Market Street and the waterfront.

Underground Streetcars

Some of the streetcars run underground for part of their route in downtown and the Civic Center, along Market Street. These routes are designated with a letter instead of a number. To access these routes, go downstairs by a Muni sign and buy a ticket in one of the machines (be sure it is a Muni ticket machine, not BART, as some stations serve both types of transportation.

Cable Cars

San Francisco's cable cars are one of its most famous sights. You'll need a special ticket to ride a cable car as they cost more than buses and streetcars (currently $6) although they are included in the Muni passport.

BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit

Bay Area Rapid Transit, known as BART, is used primarily to connect San Francisco with cities in the East Bay or south of San Franicsco, including San Francisco airport. Within the city, it connects downtown and Civic Center stations (underground) with the Mission district and southern parts of the city including Glen Park and Balboa Park. BART is not part of Muni and requires a separate ticket which can be purchased in machines at BART stations. For schedules and fares see the BART website.

San Francisco Airport Transportation

San Francisco Airport (SFO) is about half an hour drive from downtown San Francisco. There are several transportation options to get into the city from the airport.

BART to and From the Airport

BART is the least expensive option. BART has a station in the airport's International Terminal. From the other terminals there are connecting trains upstairs. Follow signs for BART. Before you arrive, try to find out which station your hotel is near. BART stations most commonly used by tourists are Civic Center, Powell Street or Montgomery Street stations downtown, and Embarcadero near the Ferry Building. You'll find ticket machines by the BART entrance.

Airport Vans and Shuttles

Vans that take passengers directly from the airport to their hotels can be found outside each terminal. They take multiple passengers so this can be the most time consuming option. If you do take a van, be sure you have the hotel address and know its approximate location as the driver may not be familiar with your hotel. For two people, an airport van costs about $10 less than a taxi.


Taxis can be found outside each terminal, follow taxi signs to find the taxi stand. Although a little more costly than a van, they are usually the fastest option for getting to your hotel.

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