Triple Time: CalTrain, BART, VTA to SFO


Because I travel a great deal, in December 2013 I applied to GOES (Global Online Enrollment System) for a card that will allow me to get through US airports faster.

What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

GOES is popular, so I had to wait until this week for my in-person interview at SFO (San Francisco International Airport). I decided to accompany my husband John on his morning commute to SFO for my interview. Driving from San Jose to SFO would have taken about two hours round trip and cost $22 in gas (40 miles x $0.55/mile) plus about $4 to park. By public transit, it cost $30 and took six hours round trip (not counting the time in SFO). My route was complex because there is no single public transit system and no direct route San Jose – SFO – San Jose:

  • San Jose Tamien to Millbrae by CalTrain ($8 day pass)
  • Millbrae to San Bruno by BART ($20 – minimum ticket available)
  • San Bruno to SFO by BART (same BART ticket)
  • SFO to San Bruno by BART (same BART ticket)
  • San Bruno to Millbrae by BART (same BART ticket)
  • Millbrae to San Jose Diridon by CalTrain (same CalTrain ticket)
  • San Jose Diridon to Convention Center ($2 VTA ticket)
  • Convention Center to San Jose Tamien (same VTA ticket)

I still can use the balance on my BART ticket and it does not expire – but I only ride BART about once every five years so I will have to carry it until then.

CalTrain does not seem to have a Mission statement but is developing a strategic plan this year that may include one.

Here is the BART Mission statement:

Provide safe, clean, reliable and customer-friendly regional public transit service that increases mobility and accessibility, strengthens community and economic prosperity and helps preserve the Bay Area’s environment.

Here it the VTA Mission Statement:

The mission of VTA is to provide the public with a safe and efficient countywide transportation system. The system should increase access and mobility, reduce congestion, improve the environment and support economic development, thereby enhancing quality of life.

I note that neither of these say anything about Convenience, Value, or Speedy Travel. So, my triple time traveling experience may be what they expect for their customers. I like riding trains and I enjoyed the lovely exhibit “Lace: A Sumptuous History 1600s-1900s” while at SFO so the day was not a total waste (but next time I will drive).  I hope that using GOES will save me the time I just spent…




3/24/2014: My GOES card just arrived in the mail – impressive turnaround time!

Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

1 Comment

Filed under Caboose Project and Other Trains, Home & Family, News & Reviews

One response to “Triple Time: CalTrain, BART, VTA to SFO

  1. Steve Uhlir

    I recommend you get a ClipperCard. It works on BART and CalTrain and VTA (and Muni and AC Transit for that matter). No, you can’t put your leftover BART money on the card, but you should never again have to deal with that as whatever cash you put on the card can be spent on any of these transit modes.

    GEOS is wonderful. You will *love* it coming back into the US.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s