Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (and Bikes, and Buses) – 511 Contra Costa

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (and Bikes, and Buses)

Whether for work, vacation, picking up or dropping off a friend – a trip to the airport is nearly as common as as trip to the market. But what is the best way to get there? Undoubtedly the simplest choice for some trips to the airport may be to drive but there’s a whole menu of transport options to choose from and consider. Let’s look at other options for getting to two of the Bay Area’s major international airports– SFO and Oakland International
Air BART
AirBART. Photo  credit: Tzuhsun Hsu
SFO and Oakland International are both serviced by BART. BART can be a viable alternative to driving and serves a wide number of Bay Area residents. Rather than driving to the airport and hassling with parking ride BART. This way you are relieved of the duty of driving; definitely an option for the no nonsense traveler. If you are traveling from Contra Costa County to SFO, BART is definitely the way to go.  If you are traveling from Contra Costa County to the Oakland International Airport, BART plus the AirBART bus from  Oakland Coliseum BART Station is your alternative. Remember to carry $3 in cash or a $3 BART pass to pay for the AirBART connector from BART to the Oakland International Airport.
There’s also the option of taking the bus. While you would still be on the same roadways as cars, buses can use the HOV lane during peak hours M-F and traveling by bus also relieves you from the duty of driving, and parking. There are a number of bus options but AC Transit is likely the best bus option from West Contra Costa to the Oakland International.
Denver International Airport Bicycle Route
Bike friendly design as seen in Denver International Airport. Photo credit: Richard Masoner
And for you daredevil bicycle travelers, there are bike access options nowadays to the airports. SFO can be reached locally by designated bike routes and offers of bike parking – even valet bike parking! Oakland International has class 1 bike path and class 2 bike lanes that link Oakland International Airport terminals with the cities of Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro.
There seems to be an ongoing, collective conversation about ways of traveling to and from the airport these days. Here in the Bay Area, Oakland North recently tested four different modes – bus, bike, BART, and car – against each other in a “race to Oakland International“. An article (with video included of each traveler), it’s well worth a read that highlights not only the convenience and route choice of different modes, but also the time and cost involved. Meanwhile in Canada, James Schwartz of The Urban Country shared his personal account of traveling to and from Toronto Inernational by bike.
It’s not unusual to think “I’m heading to the airport” and instinctively decide to drive, catch a ride with a friend, or go by taxi, but  these are not the only options at your disposal. At times, you may find it convenient or cost-effective to reach the airport by a different mode, or mixing modes– like catching a taxi to BART or biking to a bus stop and taking your bike on AC Transit to reach the airport. Interested in trying a new mode to reach the airport? Check out directions getting to and from SFO and Oakland International by all modes.

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