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California: SFO to Monterey on public transport

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May 24th, 2014, 01:16 PM
  #1
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California: SFO to Monterey on public transport

Traveling to San Francisco end of August. Would like to divide time between San Francisco and Monterey/Carmel. This is my 5th trip to California which I have always enjoyed.
Have been trying to find public transportation from SFO to Monterey and looked at the Airport shuttle that travels that route. Unfortunately I would have over 3 hours wait as my flight arrives 12:40pm. Would need to allow at least 40 mins. getting from arrivals to pick up the shuttle for early bus leaving after 12noon.

Am trying to find another service. Amtrak does not show much service to Monterey and would take many more hours arriving Monterey making connections.

Looking at Caltrain which has service from San Francisco after 2pm which might be worth considering as it would be able to connect with bus going to Monterey Transit Station.
Need to know if Caltrain has a pick up close to Airport, at the airport and if not, how to reach their transit pick up station from airport. Does BART metro go anywhere close to it.

Trying to avoid getting stuck in afternoon traffic if I need to take a taxi. Any help much appreciated as I want to start looking for hotel.

I then plan traveling from Monterey to Lake Tahoe for several days if I can get transport to north Tahoe. Thanks to all for any suggestions. I have to rely on public transportation as will not be driving. Much appreciated.
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May 24th, 2014, 02:50 PM
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As far as I can tell, American and Alaska both have code share flights to Monterey from SFO. You'd be better off adding the flight to your itinerary into SFO, if renting a car isn't something you want to do.

Monterey to Tahoe will likely be even more problematic. Why not a car?
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May 24th, 2014, 04:52 PM
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The only Amtrak option (not good) is the 7:45AM #6011 bus from the Ferry Building to Oakland Jack London transferring to the Coast Starlight about 8:50AM. Getting off the Coast Starlight to bus #3611 at Salinas arriving at the Monterey Aquarium about 12:45PM. In this case a rental car makes much more sense.
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May 24th, 2014, 04:58 PM
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Monterey to North Shore? Not by any sort of public transport that I know of. You'd probably have to return to downtown San Francisco and then take an Amtrak bus to Emeryville, train to Truckee, then TART (TART route depends on where at N Tahoe you want to go).

Otherwise there is Greyhound service from SF to Truckee. But from Monterey you are talking a real slog.

As for SFO to Monterey -- I'd just wait for the airport shuttle. Much less hassle than any other option. There are good places to eat at SFO so easy to use up your 2-3 hours.

Having a car would be much easier - especially for getting to Tahoe.
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May 24th, 2014, 05:41 PM
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Many thanks for responses. I stopped driving years ago even though I hold US license. I live north of NY and close to good transportation into city which I use and husband drives.

I will check what's available on connecting flight. I did take AA flight from LA one time to Monterey which was very hard to get on but think it does not go out of SFO. I would prefer to avoid using Salinas as have been there many times and its not a great area if one has to walk to city buses.

I will keep checking all options and greatly appreciate suggestions.
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May 24th, 2014, 07:51 PM
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The bus in Salinas is a dedicated Amtrak bus that only picks up at the station (not a city bus).
The bus back to Salinas to catch the northbound Coast Starlight is at 4:45PM from the Monterey Aquarium.
The northbound Coast Starlight gets into Oakland about 10PM.
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May 24th, 2014, 08:01 PM
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As far as I can tell, American and Alaska both have code share flights to Monterey from SFO.

The only service from SFO to MRY is on United.
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May 24th, 2014, 09:02 PM
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I stand corrected. The only DIRECT flight SFO-MRY is on United (actually SkyWest). But not the only service. And twice the price (1 way) of flights through LAX, if price is an issue and driving, or other convoluted means, not an option.
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May 26th, 2014, 12:18 PM
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Decided to take shuttle, I found schedule online and hope to get ticket on line for the one leaving SFO at 2:15 which will be less hassle. Wasn't able to get direct flight to Monterey and ticket would cost over $700 making 2 stops, which is crazy.
Am looking at Clarion in Carmel or Quality Inn, Pacific Grove which are convenient areas and the bus I usually take travels that route from Monterey transit center. I manage quite well on the city buses and use day pass which is reasonable. Have not made booking as yet but these places look nice and will be close to areas I know, Big Sur, Point Lomas, Mission and the lovely beach in Carmel.
Will look at Amtrak routes to get familiar with the journey to Tahoe. Will try to go directly to enjoy more time in Tahoe.

Thanks to all for helping me work on 1st leg of my journey.
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May 28th, 2014, 10:32 AM
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Problem with my travel plans. I was about to book my Amtrak tickets on line for journey Monterey up to N. Tahoe, via Truckett staying 4 nights, and return service to San Francisco. Looked okay. Then checked the TART schedule and it looks like this does not run after September 1. Its only during summer months as far as I could follow on their website and think the other bus or shuttle around Lake would not be in operation also.

That news is a big disappointment but luckily I had not ordered tickets or booked hotels.

I must now getting look for transport to Tahoe on arrival 8/26 leaving 8/30 to be able to enjoy Lake area, will then continue my journey to Monterey. I phoned airline today looking for link from SFO to Reno but it would be costly, over $230 without the ticket change fee.

If anyone is familiar with the TART shuttle schedule and whatever buses run around North Tahoe would appreciate comments. I feel I will have enough time to see the places if I can get the connection from Truckett as I feel it would be too expensive to take taxis.

Many thanks.
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May 28th, 2014, 10:52 AM
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That's "Truckee".
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Jun 3rd, 2014, 04:56 PM
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My reservations are confirmed and looking forward to trip. Will be in Pacific Grove 4 nights, on to Truckee for 3 nights at Pepper Tree Inn to enjoy Lake scenery, returning to San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Sheraton hotel last 2 nights and plan walking across Gold Gate once more before return on Red Eye to NY. Ordered all train & bus tickets on Amtrak and got senior discount so delighted to have trip organized.

A huge thank you to all the Fodor members for offering me so much help and advice making my travel arrangements.
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Jun 13th, 2014, 12:25 PM
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I just hope you're aware that the Pepper Tree Inn is in Tahoe City, not in Truckee. They're about 15 miles apart.
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Jun 18th, 2014, 02:43 PM
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When in Pacific Grove check out the new BEACH HOUSE AT LOVERS POINT RESTAURANT. It is in the old Bath House spot overlooking the Monterey Bay. They have some great early bird dinners and prices.
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