getting to San Francisco from San Jose and big bus tour

I’ve got a trip planned next month. I think I’d like to take the hop-on hop-off Big Bus tour.
I don’t think driving to San Fran during the day and coming back is really ideal because of traffic.
Can I take BART to San Jose to San Francisco, directly to a Big Bus stop…jump on the bus, tour around…get off…get on…then back to the BART station?

Does this sound reasonable? I’m basically hoping that I don’t have to worry about a big connection problem between BART and the Big Bus

Wife wants to see fisherman’s warf…

From San Jose, you can drive to BART in Fremont, and ride to Embarcadero in SF. The Big Bus map (PDF) shows a stop at the Ferry Bldg (#5), which is a short walk down Market St from the Embarcadero station.

You can also take Caltrain from San Jose to SF (near Giants ballpark), and walk to the Ferry Bldg along the waterfront trail, but it is a bit further than BART Embarcadero.

Looks like BART would mean less walking. Is that what you were looking for?

I think less walking is better. I want to make the trip as pleasant for the wife as possible.

When were you thinking of doing this? Parking at Fremont BART is essentially impossible after 6:30 AM on weekdays, but unclaimed carpool spots become general parking at 10 AM. Good luck with that, as there’s usually a line of people “sharking” and waiting for 10:00 to pounce on whatever’s available.

You can expect the same at the next one or two stops up the line.

Parking on weekends is much saner, plentiful and free.

If you have to make the trip on a weekday, you can buy a reserved spot at Fremont for $6.00 if you arrive before 10 AM.

Caltrain connects to BART at the Milbrae station so you can avoid walking. It’s a quick and painless way to get up and down the Peninsula. I don’t know where the Big Bus stops are, though.

You might want to check BART’s website if you plan on traveling from Fremont. They’re working on a section of track between San Leandro and Bay Fair on various weekends between now and June and you would have to take a bus between those stations.

I’m in San Jose and I prefer driving up to Daly City and taking BART into SF from there. A longer drive, but shorter ride on BART–not sure about parking availability though.

Is it just unreasonable to drive there? This would be on a Thursday or Friday. I’m just expecting the drive to take 3 hours and finding parking impossible near a Big BUs stop. Is that expectation true?

Would CalTrain out of San Jose in the morning provide a better parking opportunity?

The Union Square garage is right at Stop 6.

The garage at 5th and Mission is another popular pick for Union Square visitors and almost always has spots available. There are other garages closer, but they’re smaller, so you there’s a chance of not finding a spot. Last I recall, the daily max price is about $35.

Just be aware also of hills. The Sutter Stockton garage, for example, is “only” three blocks away, but on a pretty significant hill.

If you’re in the thick of commute traffic, it still shouldn’t take three hours.

If you’re driving between 7:00 and ~9:30 am, or 3:00 and 7:00 pm, it might take an hour and a half, or maybe 2 hours if traffic is really bad. Outside of rush hour, it’s an hour.

You can find parking in downtown SF, but you’ll pay for it - at least $25, maybe more. I don’t know what parking is like around the San Jose CalTrain station.

If you don’t like driving in traffic and cities, go with CalTrain to BART. It’s low stress.

If I do the Caltrain to BART (which seems like a plan) do you know how the parking situation is at the Caltrain? is it not likely that I would get a spot like GotPassWords suggested for BART at Freemont

If you park at the main station it can be a problem sometimes. But normally there is plenty of parking at the Tamien station. It is off Alma street in San Jose.

Depending on where you are staying it is possable to take VTA light rail to the Cal Train. If you have time I would also get a clipper card. They accepted by VTA, CalTrain, BART, and Muni in SF. Nice easy card and you wont have to stop at each transit stop and purchase a ticket. And id you are a senior citizen it is the only way to get a senior citizen discount on BART.

Big Bus stops at the Caltrain station, or at least it used to.

Yes, and for some crazy reason the BART directors are against the idea of people parking at their stations and thus using them to commute. :eek::confused::rolleyes::dubious::mad:

There’s pretty much always parking there. Cheap, too.

There are several parking lots within a few blocks of San Jose Diridon station. The out of the way ones are $5 a day. Spots seem available most of the day.

Note that if there is an event at the SAP Center (across the street from the station), you have to leave the parking lots by 6:30 PM and the entry price goes up to around $20 for “event parking” sometime in the late afternoon. Make sure you read the signs and ask before you pay.