Updated: Apr 2, 2019
"Commuting to Oakland sucks!" says people who don’t go there often. While it does take a bit more time, I’ve found the commute pleasant and productive, taking advantage of the time to read a book, catching up on podcasts or aimlessly scrolling through Instagram (BART has LTE).
If you live near a BART station, congrats - your commute is shorter and cheaper. If you don’t, like me, you will need to take multiple forms of transportation (i.e. MUNI, bike, drive). With that said, it’s tolerable. My commute to Oakland is typically between 45-60 minutes and I’m coming from Inner Sunset in San Francisco. Think about those who have to be in a bus to Google or Apple’s campus, it’s like 1.5 - 2 hours each way, so it’s not so bad.
My Commute with wait time:
MUNI Bus to Forest Hill Station (5 minutes)
MUNI Rail from Forest Hill Station to Embarcadero (30 minutes)
Transfer to BART in Embarcadero to 19th St Oakland Station (10 minutes)
Walk from 19th St Oakland to the office (5 minutes)
How to purchase a Muni Ticket
If you get on by bus, pay $2.75 with exact change. The bus driver will give you a ticket valid for 2 hours for unlimited rides and transfers.
If you get in a station (i.e. Forest Hill), there are ticket vending machines.
How to purchase a BART Ticket
You can purchase a ticket in all stations at a ticket vending machine. You may pay with cash, credit, or debit card. (Tip 1: Bring small bills if you’re using cash; Tip 2: There are designated vending machines for credit cards as not all accept them.)
When making a purchase, know exactly the station where you’re headed as prices vary. For me, Embarcadero to 19th St Oakland is ~$4.00. I usually buy the round trip fare and keep the ticket for another use. Note: When using BART, you have to scan twice: the first time when you enter and the second time when leaving the station of your destination.
For those who will be commuting often, purchase a Clipper Card. With this card, you may opt for a monthly MUNI subscription valid for San Francisco Proper. Check out the various subscription options. BART doesn’t offer monthly subscription but with Clipper you may also auto load credit into your card, which is valid for BART rides and parking.
Is taking the train safe? Yes, for the most part. During regular daytime and rush hours, it’s fairly safe. When it’s very late (i.e. past 11pm), it can get a bit sketchy, especially in some stations.
Can I bring my bike? Yes and No. BART has designated areas in the train for bikes and offers bike storage in their stations. MUNI is a mixed bag: the buses have a bike rack in the front and the light rail does not allow bikes.
What should I budget for transportation? $225-$275 per month. Depends on the frequency of your trips, if your taking both MUNI and BART and the distance.
Is it possible to save money on my commute? Yes, WageWorks is a program that can be connected to your Clipper card. It pays for your subscription pre-tax. Some companies also offer commuter benefits!
Is there LTE signal? BART, yes. MUNI, no.