How-To :: How to Use the Bus System

by shannon

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It’s probably safe to say that most of us would like our own car. However, the unpredictable maintenance costs, gas prices, and traffic don’t always make it the most appealing transportation option. Want to get somewhere relatively cheaply and bypass freeway traffic while doing so? Enter the world of the public bus system.

1. There are a LOT of buses that drive around the Bay Area every day. So which to choose? To start, visit 511.org and enter your starting point and end destination, as well as the time you need to be there.

2. Choose the trip and route that makes the most sense for you. You will likely get many options in response to your search, including different bus lines, transfers, and traffic routes. You will also see the fare required for each trip, which will prove helpful in planning.

3. Once you’ve chosen your preferred route, print your route plan. Carry it with you while you travel to keep track of where you are, and show it to the bus driver if you get lost or have any questions.

Helpful Hints:

  • If you want to learn more about the system routes in general, check out 511.org’s Schedules, Maps, and Fares. If you plan on using the system a lot, it’s smart to get familiar with the major players. 
  • Carry correct change when you can. Bus drivers often don’t have change for you and can’t break bills.
  • Be aware that many bus lines require a transfer ticket if you don’t want to pay twice. Make sure you ask for one even if you’re not totally sure whether you need it.