Getting Around the SF Bay Area

As one of the leading tourist destinations in the world, travel and transportation are of vital importance to the San Francisco Bay Area. As a meeting professional, you know how to get around. However, many of your guests may be coming from out of town and they will need information on the numerous methods of transportation that are offered in and around the Bay Area.

In the Air
San Francisco International Airport:
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is ranked No. 26 worldwide in passenger traffic as of July 2007 with more than 33.5 million passengers, according to the Airports Council International. Seventy-four major passenger and commuter airlines fly from the airport and approximately 34 of them serve international destinations.

Recently completed developments at SFO include: a new 2.5 million square-foot International Terminal; the AirTrain automated PeopleMover; new entrance roadways and parking facilities; a consolidated rental car center; a BART station; and the world’s first fully accredited museum in an airport.

Oakland International Airport:
In 2007, more than14 million passengers boarded and deplaned at Oakland International Airport (OAK). Located 25 minutes from downtown San Francisco, OAK is a convenient alternative for events that will take place in Oakland, Napa or anywhere east of San Francisco. There are also several shuttle services and BART that take visitors from OAK to San Francisco.

Currently, OAK is in the process of a $300 million Terminal Improvement Program that broke ground in the spring of 2005. Upon completion, the airport plans to apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport:
Located approximately 60 miles south of San Francisco and serving the South Bay and Peninsula, Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) averaged 360 commercial and 168 general aviation departures and landings in 2007. Major carriers include Southwest, Continental, American Airlines and United Airlines.

According to the SJC website, “The Airport Improvement Program, currently underway, will result in a state-of-the-art international airport. The program is being built in two phases, with phase one set to be completed by 2010. Phase one features a new Terminal B, upgrades to the existing Terminal A, and the demolition of the current Terminal C. Also included will be new parking and rental car facilities, as well as improved roadway access.”

On the Ground
Ground transportation is especially important to the Bay Area. Because the area experiences a high influx of tourists and convention goers, San Francisco has initiated numerous transportation initiatives. Aside from public transportation methods, many hotels and event venues offer shuttles and/or private cars to accommodate meeting and event attendees.

San Francisco Municipal Railway:
Founded in 1912, the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) provides transit service within the city and county of San Francisco 24 hours a day. San Francisco’s cable cars and vintage streetcars are just one part of Muni’s transportation fleet. Subway/surface light-rail vehicles and electric and diesel buses transport some 737,287 passengers daily. In 2003, Metro magazine named Muni one of the most-improved transit systems in the U.S.

Bay Area Rapid Transit:
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) serves San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and surrounding municipalities to the east of San Francisco and down the Peninsula to the south of the city. East Bay residents use the regional transportation system more than any other community. BART serves both Oakland and San Francisco International Airport.

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit:
The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District is the third-largest public bus system in California. AC Transit serves 13 cities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties and offers more than 800 buses to commuters, visitors and school children, and has direct links to San Francisco Muni lines.

Private Transportation:
While the quality of public transportation in the Bay Area is exceptional, meeting planners often choose to use private modes to transport groups from one location to another. One valuable amenity that many hotels offer is free shuttle service around the city. This service lowers transportation cost and makes traveling easier.

Another popular private transportation option is the use of buses, limos and cabs. The Bay Area is home to numerous companies that make chartering transportation painless and convenient. This is a great option for large groups that want to have transportation on hand at all times. Transportation companies take great pride in being on time and offering a safe, reliable trip to their riders.

On the Water
The Port of San Francisco offers ferries to and from several destinations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alameda/Oakland Ferry:
This ferry provides service between Oakland's Jack London Square, Alameda’s Main Street, the San Francisco Ferry Building and San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf area.

Blue & Gold Fleet:
Provides daily roundtrip service between the Ferry Building & Oakland's Jack London Square, Alameda's Main Street Terminal, Vallejo, Sausalito, Tiburon and Angel Island.

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