Riding the BART from Dublin to San Francisco

There is no train that goes from Stockton straight to San Francisco. Which is unfortunate since that meant I'd have to take two public transport rides when I start working in the Bay Area city. I'd have to ride a bus or train from Stockton to Dublin, then take another train to San Francisco.

So that's what I did exactly when I landed an interview at a popular tech company at the golden gate city. I hopped on San Joaquin RTD's commuter bus service route 150 from Stockton and hopped on the Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART train at Dublin/Pleasanton.

Bay Area Rapid Transport BART electric light rail train from Dublin Pleasanton to San Francisco USA
BART train at the Montgomery Street station in San Francisco

Knowing the infamously horrible traffic on the way to the Bay Area in general and San Francisco in particular, I knew that taking the electric rail would be my best option. Probably the fastest way to get to where I was going. My interview site was a mere 2 or 3 blocks of leisurely walk from the BART Montgomery station. And walking in San Francisco is as fun as it could be. Lots of people walking, lots of them tourists, great weather.

And BART isn't expensive at all. Being a subsidized public transportation platform, I only paid a mere USD 6.15 from the Dublin/Pleasanton station to the Montgomery station near downtown San Francisco. And being a first time rider, it was a breeze to learn how to get on it. And to those who really have a difficulty of grasping it, there is an information booth with people who are more than willing to help you. Lots of options to choose from on how you wish to pay your fare: cash, debit card, credit card, Clipper card, etc.

To those planning to move to the Bay Area for work, it should also be good to know that public transportation benefits are mandated for companies with 50 or more employees. This benefit that can amount up to USD 255 is provided with pre-tax dollars that can help companies and employees themselves save on taxes. This is on top of the savings one will have for gas, bridge toll fees, express lane costs, and parking expenses.

I rode on the first station at Dublin/Pleasanton. The train stopped at 9 stations before I disembarked at the Mongomery Street station: West Dublin/Pleasanton, Castro Valley, Bayfair, San Leandro, Oakland Coliseum, Fruitvale, Lake Merritt, West Oakland, and Embarcadero.

The train goes through a submarine tunnel between West Oakland and the Embarcadero stations and I could really feel the change of pressure in my ears. I remembered how to balance off the change in pressure from a scuba diving lesson from last year and it was helpful.

The ride did open my eyes to problematic realities of life in California: homeless encampments near the tracks, littered garbage on the streets, graffiti and vandalism, horrible traffic on the freeway, etc.

Back in my native Philippines, I have used the LRT and MRT in Manila and some urban bus liners in Cebu. The experience riding BART was way better than those crowded "conveniences". And it's understandable how San Francisco has the reputation of having among the best public transportation network in the United States.
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About Thaddeau II Engaling

Brothers Janus and Thadz document their travels around the United States and occasionally around the world.


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