Your Guide to Commuting in San Francisco

San Francisco isn’t just known for Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown and Alcatraz– the city also has many public transit options that make commuting a breeze. If you’re considering renting in San Francisco, check out this guide to all of the city’s public transit options and what areas they cover.

Muni is San Francisco’s main public transit system, and it operates busses, trains,  cable cars, and a streetcar. that run throughout the entire city. Here’s a breakdown of each service:

Muni Busses

Muni operates almost 100 bus lines and they cover a lot of  San Francisco neighborhoods, more than any other transit option. While busses are usually packed during rush hour, they tend to be more efficient than driving, and if you don’t mind transferring, they’ll get you pretty much everywhere within city limits.

Muni Light Rail Train

The light rail system consists of seven metro lines that run from the downtown area into several different neighborhoods in the city. The trains are underground downtown, but operate above ground once they get into some of the less crowded areas.

They all begin beneath Market Street and the Embarcadero, but they then split up, running through a variety of neighborhoods, including  San Francisco State University, the San Francisco Zoo, and Ocean Beach areas.

The historic F-Line is the most popular since it uses old streetcars from around the world and runs from Fisherman’s Wharf along the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building. If you aren’t sure if the Muni Metro stops in your preferred neighborhood, check out the Muni website and app.

Muni Cable Cars

San Francisco’s cable cars are one of its biggest tourist attractions and a fun way to get around if you’re located downtown. There are three cable car lines: the Powell to Hyde, the Powell to Mason and the California line. The California line runs from Van Ness Avenue to the Financial District, and the other two lines begin at Market Street and run to either Ghirardelli Square or Fisherman’s Wharf.

The Muni Metro and bus system is pretty costly –  more than $2 a ride, but adults can buy a full monthly pass for $68.

Bay Area Rapid Transit

BART operates public transit throughout the entire Bay Area, so it covers a much wider range than the Muni system. BART is great if you want to live outside of San Francisco and commute into the city because it connects in Richmond, Oakland,  Fremont and other areas.

Within San Francisco, BART only travels one route, running from Balboa Park through the Mission District and ending downtown at Embarcadero. The BART is also great for getting to and from the airport.


Another way to get around if you would rather live outside the city and commute in is by taking one of the ferries. People use ferries everyday to cross the bay during a commute from Oakland, Sausalito, or Alameda.

AC Transit

The AC Transit bus system is different than the Muni– it runs only a few routes within the city, but is great for getting to San Francisco from Oakland, Berkeley, and other East Bay neighborhoods.


If you’re near enough to your office, biking there is an excellent option for commuting. The Muni and BART systems are both bike-friendly, and the city itself has plenty of bike lanes and trails that will get you where you want to go (as long as you don’t mind some literal uphill battles!).

If you’re thinking of renting in or around San Francisco, you have plenty of public transit options that will make commuting  easy. Plus, you won’t have to deal with inner-city traffic and outrageous parking prices!

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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