San Francisco Airport (SFO) is about 16 miles south of the Fisherman's Wharf Area (Pier 39,  Pier 41 and Ghiradelli Square).  This article provides a summary of travel options from SFO to FW.  There are 5 popular options 

  •  Renting a car
  •  Hiring a Limo or a Car Service or a Cab
  • BART (train) plus Cab 
  • Shuttle
  • Smartphone car services such as Uber, Lyft, Sidecar among others

Modes of Transport and Cost for 2 and 4 people 

Mode (jan 2014 prices )2 adults4 adults or 2 Adults and 2 kids 
 Rental CarRental car rate plus hotel parking $30- $50Rental car rate plus hotel parking $30- $50
 Limo or Cab or smartphone car service

Limo: $57 to $60 + tip

Cab: Metered rate at approx $50-55 + tip

Smartphone car service such as Uber $38-$50 for Uberx and $65 for UberBlack (tip included) 

Limo: $57 to $60 + tip  Parties of 5 may need an SUV which may be around $90

Cab: Metered rate at approx $50-55 + tip

Smartphone car service: Same as for 2 adults 

 BART plus Cab

BART: $8.65 per adult plus $12 for cab (traffic conditions may increase this cab fare)  - Approx $29


BART: $8.65 per adult plus $12 for cab = $46 

Kids and senior with Special BART ticket $9 RT 

 Shuttle

Approx $32 to $34 one way + tip

Entire van booked = $75 to $80

Approx  $64 to $68 one way + tip

Entire van booked  = $75 to $80 (ideal for parties of 4 and more or kids needing child seats)  

   


Renting a car

The major car rental companies all have counters a short AirTrain ride away from the Terminals.  A Map of SFO has details. One can rent from Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, Enterprise, National or other chains such as Dollar and Thrfty.   Parking at Fisherman's Wharf hotels can range from $30 to $50 per night  and a car is not advised in San Francisco.

Travel Time to FW;  20 minutes late night. Average time is 30-45 minutes during  light or moderate traffic. It can take up to an  hour during rush hour with  stop and go traffic on the Embarcadero .  The Rental Car Center is approx a mile North of the Airport and here are the Google map directions 

 

Cab or Limo or Smartphone Car Service

San Francisco Taxis /Cabs are available at the Taxi Stands (marked with a yellow TAXI sign painted on the wall) in the arrivals level  of each Terminal.  There is a taxi dispatcher to assist should one have questions.  Most cabs are quite small hybrids. Two or three can fit comfortably but with 4 people and bags, it may be hard to fit in a regular cab.  A few vans are available and the visitor should request one from the taxi dispatcher.   A cab to Fisherman's Wharf  or for that matter to any part of San Francisco is metered.  The average cost is around $50-$55 plus tip. 

A Limo or  a car service can be rented before hand and the typical  charge is  between $57 and $60 for curb side pick up. There is an additional charge should one need the limo driver to wait with a sign in the arrivals area.  SF forum members have suggested a few companies. It would be best to search the SF forum for Limo company recommendations. Click here for the latest search results 

Children requiring car seats should be in a car seat in Cabs. Cabs DO NOT provide  seats.  Some limo companies will rent car seats for an extra price.  It may be easier to book a private  Shuttle for $75 to $80  and take kids as they will provide car seats.

Cabs and limos are available 24 hours a day and would be the recommended mode of transport late night or perhaps after arriving  on International  flights from Europe, Asia or South America.

 There are new Smartphone car services that can take visitors for a flat rate from SFO to SF.   Uber has UberX and UberBlack which costs between $38- $50 for UberX and $65 for UberBlack  including tips from SFO to SF.  Please check the uber website.  A smartphone with internet connection is needed to reserve this vehicle realtime.  No advance reservations can be made.  Uber pricing varies based on demand and time of day.   Other smartphone car service companies in SF include Sidecar Lyft 

Are these smartphone car services legal from SFO. Here is an article to help you decide

 

Travel Time to FW;  Average time is 30-45 minutes during  light or moderate traffic. It can take up to an  hour during rush hour and stop and go traffic on the Embarcadero.  If you have "Sir Speedy",  20 minutes late night.  

Here is a map of the Taxi Stands in the city of San Francisco 

 

Bart + Cab  

BART or Bay Area Rapid Transit has trains that leave the SF International terminal. BART tickets are available through automated machines at the SFO BART Terminal.  Each adult ticket as of Jan 2014 is $8.65 and children and seniors can purchase a discount ticket for $9 which allows for up to $24 worth  of travel.  BART travel is metered and the price varies based on the distance traveled.    Discount tickets for Adults 65 and over and children 5-12 are available at the SFO Information Desk and NOT at the BART ticket kiosks.  Details here about  the BART Green and Red Ticket

Take BART to the Embarcadero Station. Come out of the station (via Exit A2) and there is a Taxi Stand near the Hyatt Embarcadero.  A cab from there to Fisherman's wharf will be around $10-$11.  

Travel time:  Actual BART transit time; 35 minutes plus 10-15 minutes in the Cab.   Plan on approx 60 to 90 minutes of elapsed time based on wait time to get a train, walk to cab and the the cab time.

While there can be and are BART delays,  BART and cab may be faster during the 4.30-7.30 pm rush hour . BART iteself will start filling up as it gets closer to the Embarcadero 

Check BART schedule on Sunday Mornings as BART does not operate early Sunday morning.  BART does not operate late night (after midnight)

SF Taxi Stand map is here  

Shuttles

Shuttles or Shared Ride Vans are available at the DEPARTURE level of each terminal.  Here is a list of all the Shuttle Companies   Search the San Francisco Forum for a discussion on Shuttles.  One does not have to book a shuttle until about 10.30 at night but can just catch the next shuttle at the Departure level.  One does need to book a shuttle after 11pm at night.

 The average cost of each ride is $16 per person.  The entire shuttle can be rented for $75 to $80 .  For parties of 4 or more with plenty of luggage, a private shuttle would be the most cost effective. With minimal luggage,  a Cab or Limo would be more convenient.  Shuttles wait until they are full and may circle the airport to add passengers before they leave.  A shared shuttle will drop off passengers in other parts of the city before it reaches Fisherman's Wharf.  

Travel time:  If the shuttle drops off passengers enroute, which very well may be the case, plan on a 60- 90 minutes or more ride to your hotel with a bunch of fellow travelers. If there is traffc, add more time.