Amtrak Closed San Francisco Ticket Office Oct 28th, 2019

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Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
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Mar 13, 2019
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I'm curious about what buses besides Greyhound do stop inside this SF Transit Center. Reading the comments to the article, apparently BART does not, Muni does not, Flixbus does not, Megabus does not, and of course Amtrak does not. Obviously, I am not well-acquainted with mass transportation in San Francisco, but am interested because I would like to visit there at some point.
 

chakk

Conductor
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May 26, 2011
Messages
2,555
I'm curious about what buses besides Greyhound do stop inside this SF Transit Center. Reading the comments to the article, apparently BART does not, Muni does not, Flixbus does not, Megabus does not, and of course Amtrak does not. Obviously, I am not well-acquainted with mass transportation in San Francisco, but am interested because I would like to visit there at some point.
Some Muni routes do use the SF Transit Center, along with AC Transit, Westcat, and Greyhound at this time.
 

chakk

Conductor
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May 26, 2011
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2,555
Wow, getting around there is apparently extremely complicated. Is there a single clearinghouse for all these options?
there is no common ticketing system (yet) that includes all transit iptions in the SF Bay Area. There are IOS and Android apps that will generate routes to go from point A to point B. But as Gary Larson once depicted, the opposite may not be true.
 

desertflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
251
Wow, getting around there is apparently extremely complicated. Is there a single clearinghouse for all these options?
Clipper Card can be used to pay the fare of any transit agency serving the Bay Area, with the exception of Amtrak California. There is a push to consolidate the (27!) transit agencies: https://www.seamlessbayarea.org/
 

TiBike

OBS Chief
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Apr 18, 2015
Messages
709
The public transit option on Google maps does a pretty good job of combining all the transit options into a single user platform, including Amtrak California, Amtrak long distance, Greyhound and the ferries. It's improved to the point that I struggle to find an option it misses :).
 

rickycourtney

Conductor
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Dec 21, 2012
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Pardon for bumping this thread... but just booked a ticket to San Francisco for the first time in a long time and this is total BS.

The new transbay transit center was designed from day one to accommodate the Ambuses at two bus bays inside this amazing two-billion-dollar bus terminal.

Five/ten years ago when Amtrak was moving out of it's staffed station at the Ferry Terminal there was so much happy talk about how the move to the "temporary transbay terminal" was the first step in a great improvement for passengers.

Now, that the two-billion-dollar bus terminal is open and serving passengers the Ambuses are (literally) making a hard right turn away from that plan. (Get it? There's a bus-only bridge into the terminal, but cars have to turn right.)

Passengers arriving into The City get to sit in lousy San Francisco traffic as they wind around city streets, to be dropped off at an unsheltered bus stop that to add insult to injury... is in the shadow of the bus terminal where buses should be. Worse, for passengers leaving The City, they have to wait at an unsheltered bus stop for however long it takes for their bus to arrive.

This is a fight over money, $160,000 per year/per space to be exact. Between Amtrak, Caltrans, the CCJPA, and the SJJPA... they can find and split the $320,000 price tag. The fact that they won't is infuriating.

Also, the argument that buses need to serve other stop is BS... on the small fraction of trains that have service to the other San Francisco stops (Fishermans Wharf, Financial District, and Shopping Center/Market Street)... two buses are needed to keep schedule. They could easily have one bus to the transit center and the other serve the street stops.

*sigh*
/end rant
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
1,841
I have stated this previously on AU, but the transfer of guests from the terminus of the California Zephyr to San Francisco discourages me from booking that train from/to San Francisco again. Surely, a better option ought to be able to be found.
 

Tom Booth

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
156
Pardon for bumping this thread... but just booked a ticket to San Francisco for the first time in a long time and this is total BS.

The new transbay transit center was designed from day one to accommodate the Ambuses at two bus bays inside this amazing two-billion-dollar bus terminal.

Five/ten years ago when Amtrak was moving out of it's staffed station at the Ferry Terminal there was so much happy talk about how the move to the "temporary transbay terminal" was the first step in a great improvement for passengers.

Now, that the two-billion-dollar bus terminal is open and serving passengers the Ambuses are (literally) making a hard right turn away from that plan. (Get it? There's a bus-only bridge into the terminal, but cars have to turn right.)

Passengers arriving into The City get to sit in lousy San Francisco traffic as they wind around city streets, to be dropped off at an unsheltered bus stop that to add insult to injury... is in the shadow of the bus terminal where buses should be. Worse, for passengers leaving The City, they have to wait at an unsheltered bus stop for however long it takes for their bus to arrive.

This is a fight over money, $160,000 per year/per space to be exact. Between Amtrak, Caltrans, the CCJPA, and the SJJPA... they can find and split the $320,000 price tag. The fact that they won't is infuriating.

Also, the argument that buses need to serve other stop is BS... on the small fraction of trains that have service to the other San Francisco stops (Fishermans Wharf, Financial District, and Shopping Center/Market Street)... two buses are needed to keep schedule. They could easily have one bus to the transit center and the other serve the street stops.

*sigh*
/end rant
The Temporary Transbay was far better. You were sheltered, could purchase tickets and could check your bags. This sounds awful. And it's not Podunk, it's San Francisco. Way to go Amtrak.
 

railiner

Conductor
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Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,874
In the original Transbay Terminal, Amtrak buses did not use the elevated platforms connected to the Bay Bridge, but instead used a street side entrance on the back of the terminal.
AC Transit and Greyhound used the elevated, former train platforms.
 

rickycourtney

Conductor
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Dec 21, 2012
Messages
1,717
The Temporary Transbay was far better. You were sheltered, could purchase tickets and could check your bags. This sounds awful. And it's not Podunk, it's San Francisco. Way to go Amtrak.
Right, and I get that having a ticket office is probably not going to happen. Nostalgia aside, few people are buying tickets in person anymore. What would be nice is a redcap cart like what the San Joaquins have in Bakersfield. Passengers walk up to the rolling cart, show their ticket to the redcap who tags their bags and sends it to the final destination. Plus, it has the unspoken benefit of putting an Amtrak employee on the platform to answer passenger questions and deter people from doing things they shouldn't on the platform.

In the original Transbay Terminal, Amtrak buses did not use the elevated platforms connected to the Bay Bridge, but instead used a street side entrance on the back of the terminal.
AC Transit and Greyhound used the elevated, former train platforms.
Right, but that was a LONG time ago. IIRC, Amtrak stopped serving the original Transbay Terminal in 1993/1994. Between that time and it's closure in March 2015, the Amtrak "station" at the Ferry Building was the primary station in town. Passengers were encouraged to go there because it had the staffed ticket counter and checked bag service. Also, if it was so important for the Ambuses that serve the Transbay Transit Center to also serve the street stops, why didn't Amtrak/Caltrans/CCJPA/SJJPA advocate for more ramps to the street? Why didn't they advocate for access to the ground-level platforms? There's no evidence that they did. So either, it actually doesn't matter that much to the involved parties or this was a massive oversight.

In fact, I remember someone from Amtrak or one of the other parties, arguing that they didn't need to keep all of the San Francisco stops because the new Transbay Transit Center is only a block from Market Street and is well connected to MUNI. I'm not arguing either point... but they can't have it both ways. The San Francisco street stops can't be gutted while you argue that you need to be able to make street stops.

This is purely about money.
 

zephyr17

Conductor
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
4,020
I have stated this previously on AU, but the transfer of guests from the terminus of the California Zephyr to San Francisco discourages me from booking that train from/to San Francisco again. Surely, a better option ought to be able to be found.
A historic note.

San Francisco has NEVER had direct rail passenger service from the east or north. Passenger trains always terminated in the East Bay. Until 1958 SP and WP trains terminated at the Oakland Mole and SP ferries took passengers to the Ferry Building. Santa Fe bused their passengers from their own "station" to Oakland and later to Richmond. After 1958 both SP and WP bused passengers across to 16th and Wood in Oakland. WP boarded their San Francisco passengers in their yard at Middle Harbor Road. WP initially bused their passengers from SP's 3rd & Townsend station, later they shifted to Santa Fe's station.
 

rickycourtney

Conductor
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
1,717
I have stated this previously on AU, but the transfer of guests from the terminus of the California Zephyr to San Francisco discourages me from booking that train from/to San Francisco again. Surely, a better option ought to be able to be found.
IMHO... the best option we can hope for is to step off a train at Emeryville (which was designed as a bus transfer point), step onto a nice bus (newer, with WiFi and power outlets) that utilizes the bus-only lane to bypass the traffic at the Bay Bridge toll plaza, and takes you to the third floor of the Salesforce/Transbay Transit Center, where your checked baggage is unloaded onto the platform after being seamlessly transferred by baggage handlers in Emeryville.
 
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Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
1,841
IMHO... the best option we can hope for is to step off a train at Emeryville (which was designed as a bus transfer point), step onto a nice bus (newer, with WiFi and power outlets) that utilizes the bus-only lane to bypass the traffic at the Bay Bridge toll plaza, and takes you to the third floor of the Salesforce/Transbay Transit Center, where your checked baggage is unloaded onto the platform after being seamlessly transferred by baggage handlers in Emeryville.
That really would be much more guest friendly than what I experienced. On-going transportation would be available which certainly beats what I experienced having been dropped off at a closed Amtrak office late at night (My CZ was running very late) with nary a taxi in sight.
 

Tom Booth

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
156
A historic note.

San Francisco has NEVER had direct rail passenger service from the east or north. Passenger trains always terminated in the East Bay. Until 1958 SP and WP trains terminated at the Oakland Mole and SP ferries took passengers to the Ferry Building. Santa Fe bused their passengers from their own "station" to Oakland and later to Richmond. After 1958 both SP and WP bused passengers across to 16th and Wood in Oakland. WP boarded their San Francisco passengers in their yard at Middle Harbor Road. WP initially bused their passengers from SP's 3rd & Townsend station, later they shifted to Santa Fe's station.
True, but you had a roof over your head and you could check bags.
 

railiner

Conductor
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Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,874
A historic note.

San Francisco has NEVER had direct rail passenger service from the east or north. Passenger trains always terminated in the East Bay.
Except for the Key System electric interurban’s that the Transbay Transit Terminal was built for.
 

zephyr17

Conductor
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
4,020
True, but you had a roof over your head and you could check bags.
Not defending the decision not to have a station in SF, but responding to the comment that there should be a "way" to run passenger trains into SF from the east.

I completely agree Amtrak should have an actual station in San Francisco and not to move into the new Transbay Transit Terminal is irresponsible.

To put it in the same historical context, there have always been station facilities in San Francisco for rail passengers connecting on other modes to the East Bay, whether the Ferry Building, 3rd and Townsend, the Santa Fe station, Amtrak's own facility near the Ferry Building, the old Transbay Terminal, or the temporary Transbay Terminal.

Until now. Dear Mr. Anderson, don't let the door hit you on your way out.
 

west point

Conductor
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Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,111
The far out proposal for an Amtrak tunnel to Oakland would solve enough of the Transbay building problems ?
 

v v

Conductor
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Dec 4, 2012
Messages
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Just looking for an update on this. Is the bus stop still at the Salesforce Plaza on the corner of Mission and Freemont streets?

It does appear strange that America's national passenger rail carrier has resorted to an unsheltered bus stop at the centre of a major world city, maybe they are intending to move to the new Transit Centre eventually?
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,874
Just looking for an update on this. Is the bus stop still at the Salesforce Plaza on the corner of Mission and Freemont streets?

It does appear strange that America's national passenger rail carrier has resorted to an unsheltered bus stop at the centre of a major world city, maybe they are intending to move to the new Transit Centre eventually?
According to Amtrak's website, it still is....
 

v v

Conductor
AU Supporter
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Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,278
According to Amtrak's website, it still is....
Thanks. I did read that is the address they bus you to when arriving in the city, but thought or hoped Amtrak had plans to move to somewhere a little more in keeping with arriving at the terminus of a major city.

I wonder what happens with the elderly or the less fit when the weather is poor, do they just stand out in the rain with their bags? Surely you have to be kerbside at least 10 minutes before departure, I really can't grasp the concept of what they have now.

My complaint over
 

rickycourtney

Conductor
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
1,717
Please don't stop complaining... this situation is unacceptable.

I took a trip to San Francisco on the San Joaquins on March 8, which was a few days before the COVID shutdowns began.

This is the bus stop at the corner of Mission and Fremont streets. It's just a bus stop sign and a panel with some information on the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins.
1.jpg
Turning just to the left, in the distance, you'll see the multi-billion dollar transit center that Amtrak doesn't serve because of a financial spat with another government agency. There's no shelter from the rain between the bus stop and the lobby of the transit center (which it looks like you could use).
2.jpg
But as I mentioned in an earlier thread, the transit center was designed from day one to accommodate the Ambuses at two bus bays. Early maps show bay 1 and 3 being designated for the Ambuses.
STC-Bus-Deck.jpg
So I went up to the third level to see bay 1 and 3. They're still unused and available for $160,000 per year/per space.
3.jpg
So I would encourage everyone to call or write Amtrak, Caltrans, the CCJPA, and the SJJPA and tell them to figure out their spat... and move inside the transit center.
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
402
$160,000 per year/per space does seem like a lot, but if one assumes 1 bus/bay 15 times a day for 365 days a year, then it's $30 per bus/bay. Having never taken a bus from Oakland Amtrak (or wherever) to the Salesforce building, I wouldn't have the slightest idea whether there are enough passengers to cover that cost, but it usually clarifies things a bit when broken down.
 
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