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Getting Around San Francisco

Bicycle rack filled with Ford GoBike short term rental bicycles

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Let’s begin with the most important tip: Do not bring your car to San Francisco. It’s a hassle to have a car here, and you won’t need it. Use the money you would have spent on parking for a splurge dinner and a show. That’s San Francisco style!

Buses/Metro/Cable cars

Muni encompasses San Francisco’s bus, metro and cable car lines that thread throughout the city. It offers discounted fares for seniors with the Clipper Card (the all-in-one transit card for the Bay Area) or the Muni mobile app. BART is the trans-bay rail system, which makes four stops downtown. All BART trains and Muni buses and light rail are wheelchair accessible. Cable cars are not, but the historic F-Line streetcar accommodates wheelchairs at most stops. BART provides paratransit service to eligible individuals. 

Taxis sharing/Ride sharing

Taxis are plentiful downtown, but less so in outlying neighborhoods. Uber and Lyft are better options there. For mobility-impaired travelers, Luxor Cabs has the largest paratransit fleet in the city.

Bike sharing/rentals

The city is proud of being bike friendly, with a growing number of dedicated bike lanes. Ford GoBike sharing stations are located throughout the city. Rentals cost $9.95 for 24 hours, with unlimited rides of 30 minutes or less.

A number of companies — including Blazing SaddlesGolden Gate Rides, and San Francisco Bicycle Rentals — offer rental packages, from one hour to all day to multiday. They typically include helmets, bike locks and maps. The best areas for biking are the wide-open Presidio and Marina, away from the crowded streets and daunting hills of downtown.

Accessibility

San Francisco is a city of hills, but there are also flat neighborhoods perfect for the mobility challenged, such as the Ferry Building/Embarcadero area, Chestnut Street, Haight Ashbury and Fisherman’s Wharf. Sidewalks throughout the city are even and smooth, with curb cuts at all intersections. Wheelchair and walker users can easily access the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Although 11 years old, the city’s pamphlet, Access San Francisco, contains detailed information for mobility-impaired travelers. Most important, San Francisco’s signature sense of inclusion warmly embraces those with disabilities.

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