San Francisco Public Transit

By Brian Geisler

There are many interesting ways to get around the city of San Francisco. This article looks at some of the most popular.


The 2 main places to catch ferries are at Fishermen's wharf, pier 41 and at the Ferry Building. Pier 41 has ferries leaving for Vallejo, Sausalito, Tiburon, Oakland.

From the Ferry Building, you can catch ferries to Sausalito, Larkspur, Vallejo, Oakland and Tiburon. The ferries usually run from 6:25am till 9:25pm, but there are variations on this schedule depending on the route.

You can take any bicycle on a ferry, which makes the bike the bridge a popular ride. Most people ride there, then catch the ferry back.

Blue and Gold have the ferries to Angel Island in addition to the ferry transit services.

Hornblower run bay cruises running a lunch and dinner cruise and recently took over the Alcatraz contract where they operate from Pier 33.

Also on the wharf, at Pier 43 1/2, the Red and white fleet offer bay cruises during the day through till 6pm. You can also take a tour of the Bay with one of the Fishing Boats in Italian Harbor.

Street cars

The F-line started running in February 2000 and it runs from 17th and Market in the Castro district all the way to Jefferson and Jones at Fishermen's wharf. The line then goes down Beach St and rejoins the Embarcadero. A common mistake is for people to wait at the stop at Pier 39 in hopes of heading down town. To do that, you need to cross the street and wait at the stop on Beach, opposite the parking structure.

The carriages themselves are a selection of historic street cars from places such as Italy, Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans, and many more. A single fare for all MUNI is $1.50. They don't make change, so you need the exact fare before boarding. When boarding a MUNI transit vehicle, you will be given a transfer slip, which is good for future travel for the next 2-4 hours.

MUNI Buses

The buses are a good way to get around the city, but do get crowded at times. From Union square, for example, you can take the 30 Stockton bus, which goes through China town, down Columbus, before turning onto North Point, which is one block from Ghiradelli square.

When buying a ticket on the bus, you are given a transfer. Normally good for 90 minutes, you can use it to ride on any MUNI except the cable cars.

You can take a bicycle on any bus, using the rack on the front of the bus, which takes 2 bicycles.


The nearest BART station to the wharf is Embarcadeo station, which is located at the bottom of Market street in front of the Hyatt regency. It is also important to point out you can get from one BART station to any other on the system.

The hours of BART are 5am through to 12:24am. Times from Oakland are very similiar. Weekend hours are shorter, from 7:30am, while the last train is the same time.

You can take a bicycle on BART, however you can't take the bike in the fisrt car or during the hours of 6:30am to 9am and 4 - 6:30pm on week days. There are no time restrictions on the weekends.

MUNI Trains

In the same stations as BART, the MUNI trains are a separate system which run underground and above ground in certain places. The trains going to Caltrain become above ground at Folsom street, where they will pass the Ball park before going to the Caltrain Station. Other Muni trains travel to Daly City and the Richmond District.

Cable Cars

It costs $5 per person to ride a cable car and there are 3 lines in the city. The Beach/Hyde and Bay/Taylor lines both end up at Powell and Market Streets or Union Square. The final line goes up and down California st, starting at the Hyatt Regency, near the Ferry Building and ends at Californa and Van Ness. The Hyde St cable car line is most popular as it is more scenic, goes right by Lombard St and you can see Alcatraz. The Bay/Taylor line is quicker to get on and goes up Mason with a view of China town. The California st line is the shortest of all, because not many people know it's there. You pay when you get on board and the all day. 3 and 7 day Muni passes are valid on the cable cars as well.

So there you have it, some of the ways to get around the wonderful city of San Francisco.

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