An incredibly useful public transportation system, but only if you live in East Bay. Taking BART vs. driving saves me time (no annoying McArthur Maze or toll plaza to the Bay Bridge), money (parking in the city is horrible), and sanity. BART Police do a pretty good job keeping the bums out of the system, and the trains are usually on time.

It's not perfect though. Little things like trains breaking down can cause terror in the system for hours. The escalators at the Montgomery station never seem to work. No, I don't care if "all station elevators are currently in service, with the exception for the 48 elevators out of service for overhaul. I will list them now." And I swear the eastbound female computer voice and the westbound male computer voice are having an affair.

BART is nice if you want to go to downtown San Francisco, downtown Berkeley, Oakland Colliseum or airport, or Concord (not to be confused with the concorde). An extension is almost completed to link SFO to the system, and I fear that it will be linked to the Pittsburg/Bay Point, which will increase ridership on that line from the current 115% to maybe 150% or 200% capacity. And they'll have luggage. Oh joy.

The BART rails have five endpoints. These are: Colma, Richmond, Pittsburg/Bay Point, Dublin/Pleasanton, and Fremont. Work to extend the Colma line to SFO airport is currently in progress at the time of writing, and occasionally there is talk about extending the Pleasanton/Dublin line to Livermore. Until construction finishes, the BX bus line can be taken from the domestic flights terminal of SFO to the Colma BART station.

Of course, mass transit in the Bay Area is never quite that simple. To extend your range in San Francisco, you can pick up the MUNI rail, which makes stops all around the city, costs only a dollar, and allows you to grab transfers for the city’s busses under the same name. You can pick up the MUNI rail at these BART stations: Embarcadaro, Montgomery St, Powell St, Glen Park, Balboa Park, and the Civic Station.

Looking to go further, still? At the end of the N Judah line of the MUNI rail, is the Caltrain station. This will take you through Silicon Valley and by the Great America amusement park in Santa Clara. It also passes by the ACE Train rail, an express commuter train that runs from San Jose all the way to Stockton at a very infrequent schedule.

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