A Big Region and a Growing Population
The San Francisco Bay Area encompasses the nine counties that touch San Francisco Bay: Alameda and Contra Costa in the East Bay;
Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma in the North Bay; San Francisco and San Mateo on the Peninsula; and Santa Clara County - the region's
most populous county - in the South Bay. Home to 101 municipalities,
the Bay Area has a land mass of 7,179 square miles (bigger than several states) and
is home to over 7 million people, making it the fifth most-populous metropolitan area
in the country. By 2030 the region is estimated to have 8.7 million people.
Whether it’s walking, bicycling, driving or riding public transit, the region’s
transportation network is key to getting the growing population around the Bay Area.
A Diverse Transportation Network
511 consolidates the Bay Area’s diverse transportation network which includes approximately:
9,000 miles of bus routes
470 miles of rail transit
5 commuter ferry lines
5 public ports
3 major commercial airports
1,420 miles of highways
340 miles of carpool lanes
8 toll bridges
19,600 miles of local streets and roads
750 miles of bikeways in the regional bicycle system including the nine-country Bay
Trail (and an additional 1,300 miles of new bikeways are proposed).
Regional Transit Providers
The Bay Area is home to some two-dozen primary public transit operators that offer bus, rail,
ferry and shuttle services in the region. BART and Caltrain offer rail service along
major corridors leading into San Francisco. Other major service includes MUNI in
San Francisco, AC Transit and County Connection in the East Bay, Golden Gate Transit
in the North Bay, samTrans on the Peninsula and Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)
in the South Bay. Rounding out the list are smaller operators sprinkled throughout
the region. Together, the Bay Area's transit services carry an average weekday
ridership of more than 1.1 million. For additional details about each transit provider,
visit the Agency Profiles Selector.
511 Transit Coverage Area
This website contains information on the major transit providers in the Bay Area.
In addition to these providers, the website also contains information about shuttles
serving rail stations, other shuttle systems, commercial bus carriers, and out-of-region
transit. Agency Profiles Selector
for the list of agencies by mode. The trip planner includes route and schedule information
for some agencies that reach outside the nine-county region, such as Amtrak’s
Capitol Corridor , but not for all stops and services that go beyond the Bay Area.
For more information on out-of-region transit, view the “Other” mode on the Agency Profiles Selector.
Getting Around on Transit
Explore the Bay Area without the hassles of traffic, parking, and gas
by taking transit. The transit network runs buses, streetcars, and
light-rail vehicles in the denser cities, while ferries and commuter
rails take passengers further out into the region. Depending on your
starting point and destination, some trips can be made using different
transit operators or combination of operators. Experienced Bay Area riders
know that the best transit trips often combine various modes, like bus and
train services. The 511 Transit website’s trip planner can help you find
the best connections. The trip planner currently includes route and schedule
information for all Bay Area transit operators with additional links to
information for shuttle services and providers outside the region.
Wherever you're going, 511 Transit is the place to start.
Begin planning your trip on the trip planner.
More information at your fingertips
To learn more about getting from place to place in the Bay Area, just remember 511--your Bay Area travel guide.
In addition to public transit information, you’ll find information about traffic,
carpooling, vanpooling and bicycling at www.511.org.
On the Transit site, you’ll find useful links to transit agency information
, accessibility information, and detailed maps.
In many stations, you’ll find Regional Transit Display Cases containing transit
operator and route maps for the Bay Area.
The “Getting There On Transit” brochures give you all the information
you need to navigate the nine counties with directions to many of the
region’s most popular destinations. Pick up a brochure at many transit
hubs throughout the Bay Area, or request a copy from the MTC library.
For more information about transportation planning and financing in the Bay Area,
also visit the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) website .
Additional information about the Bay Area's cities and counties is available at the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) website .
Want to get involved? Help make an impact on the region’s
transportation network by participating in public hearings –
for more information see: http://www.mtc.ca.gov/get_involved/.
Or read up on individual agency taskforces to keep on top of the latest
transit issues. Most meeting schedules are posted on individual
agency websites, available through the Agency Profiles Selector
. These meetings are your opportunity to hear firsthand about what's in
the works for the region and to offer your perspective and suggestions for improvement.
The public transportation network takes people in the region
where they need to go with over 475 million trips logged
by Bay Area transit riders each year.
Public transit opens up job opportunities for millions
by making it easier to get from home to work.
It enables people to get to leisure destinations,
from visiting the area’s spectacular natural surroundings
to sporting events, shopping, the arts, and cultural
activities. 511 consolidates the network of transit
operators to provide you with information on accessing
the region’s unparalleled resources.
The new transit website maps let you see what other stops
are near your origin or destination so you can make
alternative connections on your trip if necessary.
For example, if you are going to Embarcadero Station in
San Francisco, you’ll see on the map that you can connect
to the ferries, BART, MUNI and the cable car from this
regional hub- go to Nearby Stops and Routes and
type in “Embarcadero Station”, search within a ½ mile and click “Display Nearby Services” to see the results.
San Francisco is the first and only city in the world to have cable cars.
In operation since 1873, the cable cars remain one of the
largest attractions for the area and a worldwide symbol
of San Francisco. You can map cable car lines on the Rail Systems page
(check “All Cable Car”). For more information on the cable cars,
visit the Cable Car Museum or view this unofficial web site for descriptive details and
interactive features: http://www.sfcablecar.com/.
In addition to the world-famous cable cars, San Francisco features
vintage streetcars along the city’s F-line. The historic fleet includes a
collection of vintage cars from San Francisco and around the world.
You can map the F-line on the Rail Systems page
(check “F - Market & Wharves” under Muni Metro). For more information on the historic streetcars, visit the San Francisco Railway Museum
or San Francisco MUNI’s web site
Plan Your Trip
The interactive 511 trip planner allows you to generate step-by-step instructions for traveling
from place to place on public transportation—including an itinerary based on your
parameters with schedules, fares, time estimates, and location maps for more
than 30 public transit providers in the Bay Area.
Go to the Trip Planning drop down menu and select
Plan a Trip
to get to the interactive trip planner, or use the trip planner entry form on the
511 Transit home page .
Using the new interactive map feature on the trip planner pages you can also explore
stops and locations within your trip planner itineraries.
The 511 Transit Trip Planner will suggest which route or routes to take,
when and where to board, and where to transfer if necessary.
It also provides detailed maps showing how to walk to the transit stops
within the itinerary, or to your final destination. Since there is often
more than one way to get from the Start point to the End point,
you have the option of requesting the fastest route, or the route
with the fewest transfers or least amount of walking, and specifying
the distance you are willing to walk between transit points, among other
Personalize 511, your way. Currently, MY 511 is only available for 511
Traffic features, with real time transit vehicle departure times beginning
to phase in soon for a limited number of participating transit agencies.
Over time, more personalization features will be added to MY 511 for the
Transit website. MY 511 services require registration to set up these
personalized services. Once registered, you will also be able to use
shortcuts through the 511 phone service to get current transit departure
times of interest to you, where available.
Click here for more details about
Stop waiting and wondering. Using Real-Time Departures currently can get you free,
up-to-the-minute departure time estimates for San Francisco MUNI trains now covered
by this service. Call 511 and say “Departure Times” or click on the Real-Time Departures
menu on the top left of the 511 Transit page for more information.
Clipper – the new, all-in-one reloadable way to pay your transit fares in the Bay
Area, is currently accepted on Muni, BART, AC Transit, VTA, SamTrans, Caltrain, and Golden Gate
Transit and Ferry, and will eventually be accepted on all forms of Bay Area public
transit. A Clipper card can hold passes, discounted tickets, ride books and cash value.
You can get a card or add value online at clippercard.com, over the phone by calling
877.878.8883, in person at dozens of retail locations including Walgreens, and at
participating transit ticket offices. You can even set your Clipper card up for Autoload
at clippercard.com, so that your card will automatically load cash or monthly passes
when your balance is low, or your pass expires. To learn more about Clipper,
Fares and Fare Payment
Fare schedules and payment procedures vary widely among Bay Area transit operators,
which range from free local shuttle services like the Emery-Go-Round in Emeryville
and the Menlo Park Midday Shuttle in Menlo Park to multi-county operators like
BART, Caltrain and Golden Gate Transit that base fares on distance traveled.
Complete fare information for every major Bay Area transit operator is available on
the 511 Transit Agency Fares Selector.
Many Bay Area transit operators offer transfers to connecting
services, most with discounted fares. The 511 Transit Trip Planner helps
passengers determine where to transfer, if necessary, and calculates the
fare for each segment of a trip, including transfer discounts. Also,
learn how Clipper® will make paying for your fares and making transfers easier.
Currently, most Bay Area buses require exact change to board.
Tickets for BART trains must be purchased before proceeding
through the fare gates. Some transit systems require you to
carry proof of payment that can be shown to roving fare inspectors.
In addition to single-trip cash fares, many Bay Area transit operators
offer passes that allow unlimited travel within that system for a day,
week or month. This information is provided in more detail on many of
the transit agencies’ own websites.
Service Hours and Frequency
Service hours vary greatly among the various Bay Area transit
operators. You can contact the transit agency directly to
confirm hours of operation. Agency contact information can be
found within the individual agency profile on
the Agency Profiles Selector page.
The All Nighter
provides regional bus service from approximately 1 to 5 a.m. throughout Alameda,
Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, and serves most BART and
Caltrain stations. Be sure to check the schedules for each of the agencies
that you are interested in on the Schedules and Route Maps page,
as some do not offer late night service or may shut down after the evening commute period.
Some agencies do not operate on Saturdays and/or Sundays and holidays.
Others offer service to recreational destinations (i.e. parks and beaches) on
weekends and holidays only.
Frequency of service also varies greatly by transit operator.
The larger, denser cities offer more frequent service, while
the outlying areas tend to be less frequent. The schedule summary
pages by transit operator and by line will give you a sense of
how often the service runs.
Transit agencies' telephone customer service hours also vary considerably,
with many customer information centers handling "live" calls only during
normal Monday through Friday business hours. The 511 phone service can
connect you directly to transit agencies' telephone customer service centers
and will inform you of the centers' operating hours before completing the
Accessible Transit for the Disabled and Elderly
Most public transit services in the Bay Area are wheelchair accessible.
Passengers are required to make seats near the entrance of transit vehicles
available to the elderly and disabled. The 511 Transit Accessible and Senior Services page
provides more information on accessibility. Call 511 to connect with your transit agency. For information about paratransit, either use the keypad or
say "paratransit" at the main menu voice prompt. Or,
contact a transit operator directly to confirm service accessibility.
Agency contact information can be found on the Agency Profiles Selector page.
Helpful Hints for New Riders
Using public transportation to travel around the Bay Area can be easier, faster and more fun if you remember a few helpful hints:
Ready to get going? Plan your trip now.
Ridesharing & Parking
511 Rideshare provides free services to commuters who want to share the
ride to and from transit stops in carpools or vanpools. Their services
include consultation on alternatives to driving alone, carpool and
vanpool referrals, setting up and supporting vanpools, and information
on carpool lanes and park & ride lots.
Want to park you car while you ride transit?
Go to the Park & Ride Lot
on the Rideshare page and find a park & ride lot near you.
Bikes on Transit
Approximately 36,000 Bay Area residents use a bicycle as their primary
means of getting to work every day. Nearly all buses in the Bay Area
are equipped with bike racks, and bicycles are allowed on all Bay Area
ferries, as well as most rail systems. There are a few exceptions, so
it's a good idea to confirm before you head out with your bike. Check
out the Bikes on Transit section of the Bicycling page
for more information. If your transit trip does not allow bicycles on board, many transit
stations and park & ride lots also offer bike racks and lockers. More
information on parking your bike at transit stations and
park & ride lots.
Pets on transit
All Bay Area transit providers allow persons with disabilities to ride with their guide,
signal or service animal. The service animal must be leashed or otherwise under the
control of the owner at all time. Under certain restrictions some transit providers,
such as San Francisco MUNI, allow persons to board with an animal that is not a working dog for the disabled.
A fare for the animal may be required and they may be allowed to ride only during certain
hours. Dogs may need to be muzzled and kept on a short leash or in a closed container.
Other animals may be required to be in a closed container. Please contact the individual
transit operator before attempting to board with an animal that is not in the service
of a disabled person. Agency contact information can be found on
the Agency Profiles Selector page.