Getting Around the Golden City and Between the Neighborhoods
Photo courtesy of San Francisco Travel Association
Cable Cars and street cars are San Francisco’s historical cars and run along cables that are affixed to the street. Cable Cars are located downtown and run on three lines; Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason, and California St. The F-Line Street Car runs up and down Market St. all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf. For these you may pay the conductor on board or purchase tickets at multiple locations.
MUNI/San Francisco Municipal operates buses, trains, cable cars & the F-line heritage streetcar. The MUNI buses remain above ground while MUNI metro runs on rails and sometimes go underground. Bus stops come in many forms; small bus shelters, yellow paint on street poles, and white paint on streets. Metro stops can be found on an island in the middle of the street and stations. Using the Metro Map, find the nearest metro to your locations.
For all MUNI times and buses you can go online to www.511.org
or you can call 511. In addition to this there are also many different smartphone apps that provide maps, routes, and times.
Uber and Lyft are car services operated by San Francisco locals. You must first download the app, register, and set-up a credit card payment system. With Lyft, you can request a private car service, or use the shared car service called “Lyft Line”. This is useful when travelling with another person because you get a shared discounted rate. Uber has a similar service called “Uber Pool” with rides running at a flat rate of $7. To use any of these services, set a pick-up location and end destination and within minutes, you will be matched with a driver. Make sure to communicate with your driver; call, text, or wave down their car. Get more ride sharing tips.
As is customary in most U.S. Cities, visitors may hail a taxi directly or use a smart phone app. There is a taxi station at the main entrance to the hotel.
If you are staying for more than one day, Visitor Passports and CityPASS are useful because they provide unlimited rides on Muni, Muni Metro, historic streetcars, and cable cars. There are multiple locations throughout the city where you may purchase tickets and day passes.
Single Ride MUNI Bus/train $2.25
Single Ride Cable Car Ticket $7.00
1-Day Visitor Passport $17.00
3-Day Visitor Passport $26.00
7-Day Visitor Passport $35.00
Adult CityPASS $94.00
Children ages 5-11 CityPASS $69.00
BART costs vary by distance
Ride Sharing (like Uber and Lyft) is typically under $15 for most trips around the city
Taxi Cabs are typically under $20 for most trips around the city
If you are using public transit as your main mode of travel, as it should be (we have nightmares about driving and finding parking), then the Clipper Card is an easy and fast way to use the various modes of transportation. Purchasing this pre-loaded card will give you access to all bay-area transportation such as Bart, Muni buses, Muni Metro, but NOT Cable Car. When you board, hold the card over a scanner and listen for the beep. Cards can be bought at multiple locations and re-filled at Bart Stations.