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mabella101 Apr 29th, 2014 02:13 PM

Public vs. private transportation in San Francisco
Hello ! On a past post the general consensus seemed to be for me to use public transportation when at all possible in San Francisco, however there are a few facts that I realize I neglected to include that still have me questioning if it is in fact a good idea given my particular details. I'm listing what I see as the pros and cons. Please review and tell me whether it still makes sense to use Muni or not.

A. There will be a total of 13 of us. Purchasing a min. 1 day muni pass will total apx,$195.00. 3 day passes would be $299.00
B. The website is stating a 40 minute ride from our base in the Sunset district to the embarcadero (our first stop). (Would it take this long to drive? )
C. The possibility that at some point along our stops, we wouldn't all be able to get In the same bus/street/cable car due to our group size?

Questions/doubts about taking our own transportation:

A. We would have a 15 passenger van; am concerned about clearance at parking garages, are there any open lots in the downtown area?
B. What about if we find a lot slightly outside the downtown area but closer then Sunset and take muni from that spot? Does it make sense to do that?
C. We are generally early risers and would be out by 9:00 am, so wouldn't think we'd have a problem finding parking at the time.

I trust you guys, let me know your thoughts.

happytrailstoyou Apr 29th, 2014 02:27 PM

I'm curious to read what others say, but I'm guessing $299 for 3-day passes will look like a good deal when you add the cost of parking to the problems you will encounter when looking for parking places.


PS You can all get on the same cable car. If the first one is too full the next one will be along pronto. Everybody will want to ride a cable car, which will be included in the cost of the 3-day passes but not in the cost of renting a huge vehicle.

mabella101 Apr 29th, 2014 03:01 PM

Yeah we'll definitely ride the cable cars, however I only foresee us using the muni passes for 2 days at most. On our third day in San Francisco, we'll head out to check out Muir woods and/or pt. Reyes. So no need for the passes that day. On our fourth day we head out to Yosemite. So it's not a situation where we're spending an entire week in the city and will need parking for 7 days.

logandog Apr 29th, 2014 03:43 PM

The only way you will all be able to get on the same cable car is to wait in line at the terminus.
Singles or pairs maybe can squeeze on along the route. The cars on the trip to the wharf are packed .
I rent a car when I go to San Francisco, but my hotel has free parking.

Shar Apr 29th, 2014 05:24 PM

parking is very expensive in SF depending on where you park but with that many people I think it is wiser to rent your van. Do not know of any parking structures or lots outside of downtown unless it is BART in Daly City or along the route from there to SF. 40 minutes muni ride would be about right from Sunset to Downtown and probably at least 25-30 minutes if you drive. There are open lots (off the beaten path) but they generally fill up with employees who drive in or have parking passes. I would google parking in SF and c what comes up. You could pay $25-40 a day to take that into consideration (no transfers either)and it would be hard to get all 13 of you on at the same time. Long lines in summer at Powell to get on.

Michael Apr 29th, 2014 05:37 PM

Taking your own transportation and then parking the van to take MUNI makes no sense--you are adding to the MUNI cost the rental and parking cost of the van. The cost of parking will start at $3 per hour during the day here: and on up. If this a rental van, ask if it can enter parking structures.

janisj Apr 29th, 2014 06:22 PM

I have no idea where you will park a 15 passenger van . . or are you also hiring a driver who will drop you off and go park somewhere - and return to pick you up.

mabella101 Apr 29th, 2014 07:51 PM

Janis, no driver just us. I have found some garages with high clearance (Ellis &Ofarrell)(Portsmouth)(St. Mary's) all less then $30.00 if we stay up to 12 hours. Would I be wrong to assume that any of these would work?
Micheal; the reason behind parking outside the downtown area was to a) try to shave some time off of the 40 minute commute and b) thought I'd be able to find open lots outside the city, but have found that these lots have 2 hour parking limits, so they are not an option,.
Shar, thanks, I didn't think it would take us 40 minutes to drive into the city. It seems like a long commute to make 2x daily.
Think under our circumstances, the van is the way to go. Just have to confirm parking availability.

Michael Apr 29th, 2014 08:15 PM

Another thought: If you are renting a van to park it downtown with no intention of driving around the downtown area, it implies that you could use MUNI at $2 per person ($26 total) to get downtown, possibly take it back to Golden Gate Park to see those museums (another $26) and then a return to your lodging ($26) which adds up to $78 for the day--cheaper than a pass. So maybe public transportation is preferable to renting a van.

mabella101 Apr 30th, 2014 04:02 AM

Michael; were renting the van anyway, we'll be in California for 10 days and will need it to get around after we leave the city. However you are right about the single ride tickets, I had just assumed the day passes were a better deal, and they are if your taking the muni regularly, but single ride tickets might be perfect for us, especially since we have a senior and 7 kids! ($.75). However that still leaves me with a 40 minute commute to get to the city from sunset, which is why I wanted closer parking.
Regarding the park, we are planning on spending the day there on Sunday, but it's just a hop, skip and jump from where we are staying so I figured we could walk.
Still think I'll call a few garages today and find out about parking. Thanks again.,

aprillilacs Apr 30th, 2014 05:43 AM

Taking the N-Judah muni train from the Sunset to Embarcadero or any stil along the way will be fast and convenient. Most of the line is above ground so you can enjoy the neighborhoods it runs through. Pay onboard. You will all get transfers that you can use on any muni train or bus for free within 90 minutes (or several hours, depending on where the driver tears off the paper.) I really think that will be cost-effective and efficient, and very flexible.

If you are heading downtown on a weekday, try to avoid rush hour. By 9:00 the Muni should have plenty of room for all of you.

Tomsd Apr 30th, 2014 06:39 AM

If you have a van - it would be much easier IMO than herding 13 people onto a bus, plus having to walk to and from bus stops v. parking at your destination.

Tomsd Apr 30th, 2014 06:40 AM

Plus people can take some stuff with them on the van - water bottles, snacks, whatnot.

mabella101 Apr 30th, 2014 09:52 AM

Our stay in the city would be over the weekend.
Tom; thats what I keep coming back to, just seems it would be easier. Now I just have to figure out the parking situation.There's got to be someplace to park.
Thanks for all opinions !

Dayenu Apr 30th, 2014 12:47 PM

C. We are generally early risers and would be out by 9:00 am, so wouldn't think we'd have a problem finding parking at the time.

There will be many tourists from the East Coast (NY, etc) that will be up by 7 am looking for breakfast, by 8 am ready for sightseeing - their time starts 3 hrs earlier.

How many of 13 people drive? Maybe you want to rent several cars for flexibility, or is it a tour group?

happytrailstoyou Apr 30th, 2014 01:34 PM

<i>There's got to be someplace to park.</i>

Good luck, HTtY

november_moon May 1st, 2014 07:13 PM

Another consideration - will all 13 people want to go everywhere together? With MUNI passes, people can come and go, meet back up for meals, etc.

Michael May 1st, 2014 10:52 PM

question of time: last night we went to the Beach Chalet from Noe Valley and it took half and hour. Not much of a saving over the MUNI 40 minutes.

mabella101 May 3rd, 2014 12:12 PM

All 13 people will be together. I might just put it up for a vote to the adults in the group and see. Thanks for all your help. And if anyone has any experience with this type of van in the city, please chime in.

janisj May 3rd, 2014 12:17 PM

>>And if anyone has any experience with this type of van in the city, please chime in.<<

If anyone did - they likely didn't live to tell the tale. >) Driving in SF isn't a huge problem, but it also isn't for the faint of heart. It does make a big difference if you'll have a simple van or a turtle top. Hopefully just a run of the mill van so the main problem is just the length.

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