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Transportation Basics: How to Use BART

BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit and is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most popular forms of public transportation. There are six train lines spanning from different areas like a web that carry more than 400,000 riders daily


Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most popular forms of public transportation. There are multiple main train lines spanning from different areas like a web. On weekdays, each train runs every 15 minutes, while on weekends, they run every 20 minutes. Before arriving at a BART station, figure out where it is you are trying to go and which station is closest to that destination, using this planning tool. If you are traveling within San Francisco, it might be easier to take Muni, Lyft/Uber, or taxi service, as BART can take you quickly to many central locations but not to areas beyond their primary service corridors which stop in downtown San Francisco including the Embarcadero, Montgomery Street, Powell Street (where the cable cars turn around), and Civic Center stations; the Mission District and, of course, San Francisco International Airport.

BART costs vary, depending on which station you are trying to get to. When you enter a BART station, you will find pay stations with charts listing fares to each station. Respective costs going to stations will be reflected from every station. You can also use the fare calculator to find how much fares are beforehand. Machines take bills up to $20 as well as credit and debit cards. 

The main train line destination directions are SFO, Millbrae, Daly City, Richmond, Antioch, Oakland International Airport, Dublin/Pleasanton, Fremont, and Warm Springs/South Fremont, with the line names describing the ultimate end destination. You will see the train line names overhead on the red markers inside the boarding platforms. You can also use the BART map to help visualize your trip. Note, some lines have special rush-hour extended service; check the map for details.

All BART service ends at midnight and resumes at 4 a.m. on weekdays, 6 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. on Sundays except when special operating hours are in effect for events, etc.  

Please note, select stations will only offer the Clipper Card option for fare purchase. These stations include Embarcadero and Powell Street in downtown San Francisco, 19th Street in Oakland, Downtown Berkeley, and, begininng April 20 2020, San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Clipper Cards ($3 initial purchase surcharge) are reusable and re-loadable, and offer savings with a $.50 discount on one-way fares compared to paper ticket use. For more information on the conversion to Clipper Card, visit BART online.

For more information on BART's 15-point plan to protect rider health and safety while still providing reliable service through San Francisco and across the Bay Area, click here.