Today’s Headlines

  • Welds Caused Transbay Cracks? (Curbed)
  • California Mandates Zero Emissions Buses (EastBayTimes, CBSLocal)
  • BART Still Getting Beaten by Ubers/Lyfts to Airports (SFChron)
  • Man Spits on BART Operator, Delays Service (SFExaminer)
  • Geofencing Scooters (KQED)
  • Transbay Developer Released from Grocery Requirement (SFExaminer)
  • Changes to Harvey Milk Plaza Re-Design (Hoodline)
  • S.F. Losing Affordable Housing Units (KQED)
  • A Sleeper Bus is Still a Bus (SFChron)
  • When San Francisco Almost Scrapped its Cable Cars (SFChron)
  • Commentary: S.F. Can’t Solve Housing on its Own (SFExaminer)

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  • theqin

    Maybe if people didn’t have to transfer with all of their luggage at San Bruno they would get more riders.

    But really the biggest problem is trying to take Caltrain to SFO and having to do some crazy transfer dance which might additionally include taking the air train.

    They should fix both problems by running the air train to the Milbrae station. But it seems this won’t happen due to a lack of imagination on the part of San Francisco who controls SFO.

  • The whole SFO extension was a mess from the start. BART and Caltrain have made it so inconvenient for riders to get to the airport that it’s no surprise Uber/Lyft are the preferred means of getting to and from. First of all, unless you live next to a BART station in SF you will (and should) take Uber/Lyft. It’s just common sense.

    Airtrain should have run directly to Millbrae for a mostly seamless transfer to either BART or Caltrain. The SFO BART station should have been nixed completely.

  • sf in sf

    I liked Sleep Bus when it was called Sleep Bus, before the pretension. Why try to be something you’re not? The existence of this service is a testament to how sorry our passenger rail network is and the importance of high-speed rail.

  • thielges

    Sadly the Caltrain->SFO transfer was much easier and more efficient when it was implemented with a clunky old rental shuttle bus. We spent a billion dollars to make the Caltrain to the airport connection less convenient and more expensive. But, hey, it looks great on SFO and BART marketing collateral.

  • Wallaby

    Why is the change so hard? Both CalTrain and BART share the same Milbrae station. Worst case you have to go North one station and backtrack to SFO on BART. Or take a cab from Milbrae station for a few dollars?

    I live in the City and just take the K/L/M to Civic Centre and then BART – door-to-door can be as little as one hour. Or walk a mile to 16th Street BART. Taking CalTrain would be a total pain, at least until it operates to the new TransBay terminal.

    The real issue was 20 years ago when the decision was made to extend BART to SFO. Are you saying that should never have been built? Before that I had to take a SamTrans bus to SFO, or a cab.

    Never used Uber or Lyft.

  • Last week I took a drive up El Camino between San Bruno and Colma. BART should have been an elevated structure for most of this route instead of a wasteful, expensive tunnel. It really could have encouraged development along a good stretch of El Camino.
    As for the SFO station…don’t forget…BART riders are hit with an airport surcharge for using the station since it sits on airport property.
    On Wallaby’s note…even if Caltrain reached downtown SF it still wouldn’t help riders at the airport. Anyone riding downtown would take BART.

  • theqin

    The change is hard not only because you might have a lot of luggage and the transfer at milbrae in one direction involves two elevators. This combined with the fact that Bart and Caltrain schedules are in no way coordinated makes it hard. A cab ride from the 4th and king station is about $40 during non rush hour. Right now it says Uber is $30 and Uber express pool is $20.

    Since I live right near the San Francisco Caltrain station you can understand how taking Bart would involve a muni ride that doesn’t always come in a reasonable amount of time combined with elevators that are sometimes out of service… and I’m trying to get to a flight that leaves at a specific time.

  • Wallaby

    Well, if you have a ton of bags then you are going by car or shuttle anyway. Or if there are 3 or more of you.

    But I’m talking about a single person with, say just hand baggage. And in that case BART is better if you are close to a BART station, whilst CalTrain is better if you are close to one of the two CalTrain stations in SF like you are but most are not.

    BART was chosen over CalTrain for the SFO connection because of its higher ridership, its greater number of stations and the more central location of BART stations in SF.

    If you’re coming from the South Bay then it’s less clear, but that is a more car-centric area anyway. Whilst for the East Bay clearly CalTrain is irrelevant but BART is much more relevant.

  • theqin

    I am not saying that Caltrain should drive into SFO, which would make no sense. What I am saying is that the AirTrain should be the connection to the Millbrae station as it runs more frequently and unless you are flying internationally you are likely going to have to take it anyway to get to the right terminal.

  • Agreed. That’s the issue here. Neither BART nor Caltrain does the job properly and in most cases folks have to transfer to the Airtrain. Think JFK…the Airtrain system connects to commuter rail and the subway in Jamaica as well as the A train in Howard Beach.

  • mx

    And after we spent all that money, we’ve regressed back to the shuttle bus approach:

    Millbrae is one BART stop away from SFO, yet SamTrans still beats them with shuttle bus service that costs 40% of BART’s fare (with Clipper) and takes less time with no transfers, albeit with a near-uesless two buses/hour on an irregular schedule.

  • thielges

    Yes, Airtrain would have been a better option than BART-SFO. It would definitely be more convenient, being both more frequent and eliminating a transfer for those traveling to terminals 1,2,3. It is also likely cheaper to construct a single-track loop light rail connection versus the dual tracked heavy rail dysfunctional wye configuration that was built. A wye is effective if there is substantial traffic through all three points of the wye. In this case only 1 of the 3 points carry any through traffic.

    When the BART-Caltrain-SFO connection was first proposed, taxi drivers opposed it because it risked cutting into their business. They were right that their business was under threat, but they were looking the wrong direction. And pressure from the taxi lobby was responsible for watering down or hobbling the SFO rail connection then they unwittingly aided their biggest foe.

  • p_chazz

    Nobody wants elevated rail structures in their neighborhood. BART was supposed to run at ground level in Colma but the cemeteries objected.

  • p_chazz

    As I recall, in the original design, Airtrain was supposed to serve the Millbrae BART/Caltrain Station. But Quentin Kopp demanded that BART be built to the Airport and so it was. For a short while, BART operated the Purple Line, as a Millbrae-SFO shuttle.