Information on this page is current as of April 1, 2006.
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. 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
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 $22 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 Stanford-area 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
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
There are no bus stops near the check-in location for
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
Sheraton hotel, 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:
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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