How to Travel from San Francisco Airport to Downtown?

The San Francisco International Airport is one of the biggest airline hubs on the western coast. Like most metropolitan airports, SFO is located outside the main city. There are several different ways of travelling the 13 miles between the airport and downtown San Francisco. You can either take a taxi, use the rapid transit shuttle or train. This blog will tell you the best way to travel from the SFO to downtown San Francisco.

Begin by selecting the best transportation mode

Choose your desired mode of transportation- taxi, train, car or shuttle. Train or taxis are the quickest.

Use the train:

If you are in the international terminal, you should exit the customs station, and take the escalator to reach the departures level. Walk straight and you will arrive at the train station. In case you have arrived at the domestic terminal, you can walk south and come to the International Terminal and then BART.

Get off the train at one of the following downtown destinations- the Civic Center station, Powell Street Station, Montgomery Street, or Embarcadero Station.

If you choose taxi:

  1. Exit Terminal 3, 2, 1 or International from the Arrivals level. There is a taxi stand at every level.
  2. Get in touch with a dispatcher and queue in to get the next vehicle available.
  3. Load the bags in the cab. Tell the driver the destination.
  4. Once you reach the destination, pay the driver. The cost should be approximately USD 40. This includes the mileage, flagging fee, wait time and a tip.
Another great way to get a taxi is to book it online or via the provider’s toll free number. There are several yellow cab providers who offer pre-booking facility, where in you can book a cab for a date in the future. This will ensure that no time is wasted standing in queues for a taxi.

For rental cars:

  1. Get to the rental car center by boarding the Air Train (blue line).
  2. Rent a car. The rent will depend on the number of hours or days you wish to rent the car.
  3. Exit the airport and head west.
  4. Keep following the US-101 North till you see the Fell/ Octavia exit. Make sure to take the exit and then turn right to get off the freeway. Follow the Market Street east till you reach your downtown destination.
For shuttles:

Reach to the terminal’s departure level. If you have just arrived, you must take the elevator or escalator down a level.

Get to the shared shuttles/ vans sign. Cross the traffic lane and look for the shuttle dispatcher. In case you have pre-booked a shuttle, tell the shuttle dispatcher about it and he/she will point you to the right direction. If you haven’t booked a shuttle yet, they will point you to the next available van.

There are endless ways to travel from SFO to downtown. However, the best and quickest mode of transportation is taking a yellow cab.