A few public SamTrans buses connect SFO Airport to downtown San Francisco, such as routes KX and 292, which take you to downtown San Francisco in 25 or 55 minutes, respectively.
A ticket costs $4.00, and can be purchased with cash directly on the bus.
❯ The express KX bus has fewer departures but takes about 25 minutes to reach downtown San Francisco (Northbound from the international terminal, level 1, courtyard G, it's 6 stops to Mission St & 7th). Please note that luggage is not permitted on KX buses.
❯ The 292 bus takes about 55 minutes to reach downtown San Francisco. Buses depart every 10-30 minutes, depending on the time of day, from 4:30 AM to 1:39 AM (Northbound from International Terminal, level 1, courtyard A, 31 stops to Mission St & 7th).
Check out the different schedules and timetables from the SamTrans website.
With long travel times (and luggage restrictions on the express KX), taking the bus isn't the most ideal way to travel to downtown San Francisco from the airport; the BART trains are much quicker and more convenient.
The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) rail service (yellow Line from Millbrae/SFO in the direction Pittsburg/Bay Point Station) is the only direct rail link from SFO Airport, and will get you to downtown San Francisco (Powell St. Station, 10 stops from the SFO BART train station) in about 35 minutes.
A one-way ticket to downtown San Francisco costs around $8.95 and can be purchased at the SFO BART train station vending machines.
Trains usually depart from platform 3 (Northbound) every 15-30 minutes from 4:09 AM–11:54 PM on weekdays, every 20-30 minutes from 6:07 AM–11:54 PM on Saturdays, and every 20-30 minutes from 8:07 AM–11:54 PM on Sundays and holidays.
You can check the schedule and further information from BART website.
To get to the BART train from your terminal, take the free SFO AirTrain shuttle to the SFO BART Station.
Each ticket machine will have an overview of fares to the respective stops – enter your destination and the machine will tell you how much to enter to print your ticket (some machines accept credit cards, others only cash – please note that the machines are only able to give around $4 back in change).
You then insert the ticket into the station gate, and again when exiting the station, upon which your ticket is debited the amount due. If there's any money left on the ticket, the exit gate will return it to you.
Depending on traffic, a taxi ride from SFO Airport to downtown San Francisco (for example Powell St or Union Square) should take 20-35 minutes.
Taxi fares to Powell St/Union Square are usually around $45, but risk increasing with traffic.
Another option is to take a shared shuttle service at a flat rate of about $17. Check out the list of SFO Airport shuttle operators for further information.
The shuttles can be found in the center island of the departures (upper) level of the respective terminals. A private shuttle usually costs somwhere around $75.
If you don't want to deal with the hassle of taxi companies or long bus queues, you can prebook a ride via Kiwitaxi, an online booking platform that offers reliable and cheap airport transfers worldwide. The English-speaking driver will wait for you at the airport even if your flight is delayed, holding a sign with your name on it.
Uber also operates out of SFO. Drivers are required to pick passengers up on the departures (upper) level.
Planning to rent a car at San Francisco International Airport?
Check out Rentalcar's website to compare the prices find the best deal!