2005 San Francisco International Airport
to Stanford Area Transportation

Information on this page is current as of August 1, 2005.

Even if you’ve made this trip many times, please note that there have been a few changes between last year and this year!

Rental Cars  All of the on-airport rental cars are now in a remote part of the airport (a “convenient central location” in airport-speak); after collecting your luggage, you must make your way upstairs to the departure level and then up another level to the “Air Train” blue line, which will take you to the rental car center. {If you do not otherwise have significant discounts from list price, note that IEEE Travel offers special discounts with some rental agencies}. Normal non-rush hour driving time from SFO Airport to Palo Alto is approximately 45 minutes, generally using Highway 101 South to University Avenue or Embarcadero exits. Be aware that some hotels in the Palo Alto area now charge as much as $10/night for overnight parking of cars.

Taxi  (Special Warnings!) The airport taxi stand, on the arrivals level of the airport, is served ONLY by City of San Francisco taxis, who are authorized to charge 1.5 times the meter reading when driving to destinations South of the Airport, such as Palo Alto and vicinity. Beware that the average charge for a one-way trip to Palo Alto using a City of San Francisco cab is currently $120 plus tip. If you want to take a taxi to the Stanford/Palo Alto area, you can save some money by calling one of the Peninsula-based taxi companies to come get you (one such possibility is the collection of companies calling themselves Yellow Cab and/or Computer Cab, which can be reached from the airport by dialing 1-888-512-1234). Using a peninsula-based taxicab company, a one-way trip to the Stanford area will cost approximately $45 - $60 plus tip.

Shared Shuttle Van  South & East Bay Shuttle (1-800-548-4664) and SuperShuttle (415-558-8500) are two companies offering door-to-door service in shared vans. A one-way trip on South & East Bay Shuttle is $25 for the first person and $8 for each additional person to the same destination. A one-way trip on Super Shuttle is approximately $26 – $31 per person for the Palo Alto / Los Altos / Mountain View region. While the van is likely to make several stops on the way, generally the shared shuttle van represents the best compromise between cost and travel time expended. Shared vans are dispatched from the center island on the upper level of the terminal. Since baggage claim is on the lower level, you must go upstairs after collecting your luggage and find the dispatch center on the center island. It is not necessary or desirable to make reservations for trips FROM the airport. Shuttle drivers should know the locations of the Westin, Sheraton and Cardinal hotels; those going to check in for on-campus housing need to request to be taken to the Florence Moore Hall Service Center, 436 Mayfield Avenue on the Stanford Campus.

Bus Service  (Cheapest, but most awkward) San Mateo Transit (Samtrans) operate an express bus, route KX, from the lower-level (arrivals) roadway at the airport to Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. (Be careful to board a Palo Alto-bound bus; the service continues beyone the airport to downtown San Francisco). There are no special provisions for carrying luggage, so this is unlikely to be a good service for you if you have significant amounts of luggage. The service makes local stops beginning in Redwood City, and is scheduled to take just over an hour to cover the distance from the airport to the Stanford Shopping Center. One way fare is $1.25, no change provided. Service is on a schedule (available at http://www.samtrans.org/schedules.html), approximately every 30 minutes until around 6pm, then hourly in the evenings with the last service at 9:21 pm on Saturday and Sunday evenings, and 10:44 pm on weekdays. At the Stanford shopping center, it is generally possible to connect to VTA’s bus #22 (separate fare of $1.50 exact change only) which continues down El Camino Real past Stanford University and most of our recommended hotels. The schedules of the SamTrans KX and the VTA #22 are not synchronized with each other. The full Samtrans schedule for route KX may be retrieved from: http://www.samtrans.org/pdf/Schedules/Route_KX_11_14_04.pdf. There are no bus stops near the check-in location for on-campus housing.

Caltrain & BART  (New Schedules start August 1, 2005) An all-rail trip to Palo Alto is now possible, using Caltrain and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). The airport-BART station is in the International Terminal at San Francisco Airport. If you arrive at one of the domestic terminals, you must make your way to the upper level and ride the free Air-Train to the International Terminal to access the BART trains. At the BART station, be careful to board a train bound for Millbrae, and not a direct-San Francisco bound train. There are no stations between the airport and Millbrae; the ride takes approximately 8 minutes. The BART schedule finds a train from the airport to Millbrae scheduled approximately every 20 minutes, connecting with Caltrain’s service which runs on a varying schedule (approximately every 30 minutes weekdays, hourly on Saturday and Sunday departing Millbrae southbound at 24 minutes past each hour until 10:24 pm). Caltrain serves a station at “Palo Alto” (the station is just behind the parking lot of the Westin and Sheraton hotels, and approximately 3 blocks walk from the Cardinal Hotel). With the best possible luck, the trip will take at least an hour and a quarter from collection of luggage to arrival at Palo Alto station. One way fares total $5.00; you must buy separate tickets for the BART shuttle ($1.50 each direction) and for Caltrain($3.50 for a one-way adult trip from zone 2 to zone 3), in each case from machines at the station before boarding the trains. The Caltrain station is also served by Stanford University’s free Marguerite Bus Service, which provides frequent bus service to most of campus. To check in at campus housing, ride the Marguerite Line B to the “Florence Moore Service Center” located near Campus Drive East and Mayfield Avenue. BART’s information page about airport service is at:
http://www.bart.gov/guide/airport/airport.asp. The full Caltrain schedule is available at:
http://www.caltrain.org/timetable_effective_8_1_05.html and the full BART schedule is available at http://www.bart.gov/stations/schedules/lineSchedules.asp (be sure to look at the Pittsburg/Bay-Point to Millbrae (yellow) schedules).


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