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Getting to SFO Airport from SAC

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bmjhagen9426

OBS Chief
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Apr 16, 2014
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Klamath Falls, Oregon
I have a flight coming up in a week from today out of SFO, and I live in the North area of Sacramento, about 30 minutes from downtown, where the Sacramento Valley Rail Station is located (I know the bus schedule into downtown already, so I can leave accordingly), and the flight leaves for PHX at 4pm that day (I chose to fly out of SFO to save on airfare. Which Capitol Corridor train should I take out of SAC if I don't want to miss my flight? And also, which station should detrain in the Bay Area (to minimize walk time), considering that I will be taking the BART into SFO? And should I get a Clipper card, and if so, when should I get one? And what are the baggage policies (It's been a long while since traveling on Amtrak, and LD trains were still daily, nobody wore face coverings, and dining car was full-service on LDs west of CHI and NOL when I last rode), and the new COVID-19 safety rider rules, besides mask mandates? Answers will be much appreciated.

P. S. This is my first post in a long time.
 

Seaboard92

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Dec 31, 2014
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South Carolina
What day of the week? I believe the Capitol Corridor has a different schedule each day of the week.

Me personally especially if I had luggage I would go all the way to San Jose and cross platform transfer to CalTrain to Milbrae. Then same station transfer to BART. Now that is significantly longer timewise, but has the easiest connections.

Now if you are wanting to use BART. Get off at Oakland-Jack London Square. Walk up Oak St away from the water (This is the street at the south end of the platform). Then walk seven blocks to the Lake Merrit BART Station. I don't know how the neighborhood is so I can't advise on that.

I hope you have a good trip.
 

AmtrakFlyer

Service Attendant
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Nov 27, 2016
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Train to emeryville than Uber it. Should be fairly inexpensive and the quickest.
 

Bob Dylan

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May 31, 2009
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Austin Texas
Consider getting off in Richmond and take BART, the earlier the better!

You'll have 2 transfers, but should be Safe and Seamless in the daylight.( I'd stay away from Oakland and it's a Long way to San Jose, but it is doable as Seaboard said)
 

Steve4031

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Chicago
You want to be at the airport by 2 pm at the latest. Google maps should give you reliable transit times on Bart.

You then work backwards from the 2 pm arrival at airport checking the suggestions above.

Imho the transfer at Richmond would be fastest all transit option. The fastest overall is probably Uber from emy.

The ride to San Jose and then back on caltran is interesting but you may not have enough time.

Whatever you do make sure you are using COVID schedules and not regular schedules.
 

GiantsFan

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
97
I also recommend going to EMY then hopping in an Uber. Will be a lot quicker than going to SJC then back up to Millbrae.
 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,879
Location
Nottingham, England.
When I visited Emeryville a good few years back, I used the free Emery-Go-Round bus to connect between Amtrak and MacArthur Bart stations.
I have no idea if this is a better or worse option than the other suggestions above?

Emery Go-Round |
 

bmjhagen9426

OBS Chief
Joined
Apr 16, 2014
Messages
764
Location
Klamath Falls, Oregon
There is a 5.5 hour gap after the Coast Starlight. Either ride #525 or the Starlight.
I have a medical device (CGM or continuous glucose monitor) on me, as well as carrying a spare one. When I asked my providers they told me that I cannot go through a millimetre wave or x-ray scanners, as these devices will not work once I pass through those scanners, and advised me to request manual inspection. As that adds time spent at the TSA checkpoint, that alone will add even more time, so another reason to leave early morning prior to the 5.5 hour gap.
 

roadman3313

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SF Bay Area
With the current schedule, unfortunately, Train 529 would be the latest option available to get you to the airport in a reasonable amount of time. This train currently averages about 12% occupancy. Schedule out of SAC at 7:33am, arriving to RIC at 8:59am. From there you can walk down from the Amtrak station into the BART Station and go through the BART faregates and up to the BART platform. There are two BART route options that would both require transfers.

The option BART will tell you to do is a Orange (Berryessa) Line train to MacArthur and then make a cross platform transfer to the Yellow (SFO) Line train. Another option if you'd like to have more of a chance of spacing would be the Red (Millbrae) line train to San Bruno and then a same platform transfer to a Yellow (SFO) Line train one stop to SFO. Berryessa trains leave Richmond at :03 and :33 after and Millbrae trains leave at :11 and :41 after. Depending on your transfer the ride takes just over an hour from Richmond to SFO with the transfer. The average ridership at the time you are riding is approximately 13 passengers peak per car on the Yellow Line and 9 passengers peak per car on the red line.

BART no longer sells paper tickets from their vending machines so the machine will only sell you a Clipper Card now. The Clipper Card is $3 in addition to the BART fare. The machine will give you the total amount. Not all Machines take cash so if you are using cash be sure to look for one that does. The Station Agent should be able to assist you if you have any questions.

The Capitol Corridor allows two pieces of carry on luggage plus two personal items such as a backpack or small bag. Carry-ons should not exceed 28 x 22 x 14 inches or 50 lbs. Personal items should not exceed 14 x 11 x 7 inches and 25 lbs. Luggage racks on most of the cars will be upstairs near the stair case. There are small overhead bins above the seats but on most cars (8000-series) they are very small so they don't fit much. There is space behind some seats or on the lower level as well if seated there. The luggage racks by the entry doors are usually folded up for bike rack space though they may sometimes be available. The policy is one ticket, one seat so they request bags not be placed on an adjacent seat. I haven't personally ever had an issue with luggage though and the trains for the most part have been fairly empty with room to spread out a bit.

Face coverings will be required on all the trains and in all the stations you will be traveling to. The only exception is when actively eating or drinking though that isn't allowed on BART. The café cars are closed on the Capitol Corridor, however they usually have a little self-serve snack bag and small bottle of water if needed. Those are complimentary while café car service is suspended and are located on the counter within the café car itself.

I believe that covered most of your questions. Richmond BART is not the greatest, however it is generally fine during the daytime with the brief connection time you have. This is the most direct option. Just know this will most likely put you at the airport between 10am and 10:30am so you will have quite a bit of time before your flight. With the COVID schedule, the next Amtrak train (537) isn't until 12:14pm from SAC, however you wouldn't get to the airport until closer to 3pm assuming all the connections worked. Hope it works out and you enjoy your trip.

Capitol Corridor
BART
 

v v

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Dec 4, 2012
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UK / France
General BART question. Apart from speed what is the advantage of BART to other city transport systems?

Don't mean to hijack the thread but BART is mentioned a lot here, thanks.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
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Apr 5, 2011
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Location
Baltimore. MD
When I went from SFO to Sacramento, I took the BART to Embarcadero, and then took the Amtrak Bus over the bridge to Emeryville. That's when they had the Amtrak station next to the Ferry Building. On the way back to the airport, I got off the Capitol Corridor in Berkeley to visit my sister, then rode BART from Berkeley to the Airport. I think I had to change trains in downtown San Francisco. One thing about taking BART, is that the SFO station is a distance from the actual air[ort terminal, so you have to ride the (free) people mover from the BART station to the terminal.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
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Location
Baltimore. MD
General BART question. Apart from speed what is the advantage of BART to other city transport systems?

Don't mean to hijack the thread but BART is mentioned a lot here, thanks.
The system you ride depends on where you want to go.

BART is a Metro (heavy rail) service that serves the entire Bay Area (except Marin County). The Muni Metro is a light rail system (with subway tunnels downtown) that only serves the City of San Francisco. The Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway) is the bus, trolleybus, and cable car operator in the city. There are other bus operators in the East and South Bay. Caltrain is a commuter rail service that connects San Francisco with San Jose. I believe there's a new light rail service in Marin County, too. Plus there are ferries connecting the city with Marin County and Oakland.
 
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