10 Tips for Taking Caltrain
Going to see the Giants in AT&T Park? Caltrain will take you there. Running Bay to Breakers? Ride Caltrain for a restful trip to and from the race. Going out on the town for the evening? Caltrain has stations in some of the hottest hubs for dining and drinking and can get you home safely. And, of course, Caltrain is an efficient, environmentally-friendly way to commute.
We’ve assembled some tips to help you have a smooth, enjoyable trip on Silicon Valley’s rail line.
- Purchasing a Ticket: Ticket machines are available all stations, either on the platforms or at the station entrance. Tickets must be purchased before boarding the train. If you need to buy a ticket, arrive a little earlier so you’ll have time to get a ticket before the train comes. The train will not wait for you.
- Determine Destination Station & Zone: The Caltrain system is divided into 6 fare zones and train fares vary depending on how long you plan to ride. Look for the diagram on the ticket machine to see which fare zone your destination belongs to and select that zone on the ticket machine. The machine can take cash and credit/debit cards. You can also pay for parking at the same time.
- Clipper Card: If you’ll be riding more than a few times per month, use a Clipper Card. It’s easier than buying paper tickets. Just be sure to tag off – something newbies forget. Set a countdown timer or alarm on your phone if you’re afraid you’ll forget.
- Rush Hour: Rush hour trains are busy—be ready. Make your way toward the door before the train arrives at your station.
- The Bike Car: Avoid sitting in a bike car if you don’t have a bike. Cyclists should be allowed to sit near their bikes. Why, you ask? So they don’t have to go as far to find a seat or retrieve their bike when getting off and they can help organize bikes, if needed.
- Chatting on the Phone: Talking on a phone is officially allowed, but it’s best to speak softly.
- Eating and Drinking: It is permitted on Caltrain. So, pick up that Blue Bottle Coffee from Bay Meadows’ Town Square on your way!
- Service Alerts: Subscribe to alerts on the Caltrain website, in case there are any service disruptions.
- Schedule on your Phone: Download a Caltrain schedule app, offered for a variety of operating systems.
- Bikes on Caltrain: Bring your bike on Caltrain to connect you at both the start and end of your journey = no car parking / last mile issue! See tips on Caltrain bike etiquette here >
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