Getting to Worldcon 76 from Bay Area Airports

(Thanks to our members FB page moderator Anne Killpack for writing this up.)

Q: But I don’t want to go straight to the convention – I want to go to my hotel first!
A: The convention hotels are all within a few blocks or less of the convention center, so these transit options will work in most cases. If your hotel is not one of the convention hotels, call them or check their Web page and ask them how to get there from San Jose Diridon Station.

How To Get From SF Airport To San Jose McEnery Convention Center 

  • Q: I would like an affordable (but accessible) public transit option. 
    A: PUBLIC TRANSIT /PHYSICALLY ACCESSIBLE OPTIONS is SFO's page on the local public transit options near SFO. SFO operates an AirTrain that takes you to terminals and rental cars; some transit directions may include this train.
    CalTrain is the fastest and most efficient way to get down the peninsula, so unless you arrive when CalTrain is not running, it's your best bet.
    That said, there are two ways to get from SFO to CalTrain easily: a SamTrans bus, and BART. (Both routes are wheelchair accessible and I don't think they are terribly long walks as airport transit goes, but you may need to ask directions.)
    • If you are a solo traveller without much luggage, SamTrans is your best bet. SamTrans is a regular intercity bus, and it doesn't always like people with lots of luggage or large groups.
    • BART is a subway-style train (it runs underground in SF, but mostly overground outside of town). It has places for luggage and unless you are travelling at rush hour, you can probably get seats. (Particularly noise-sensitive passengers should consider hearing protection; some parts of BART have screechy and/or loud tracks.)
      BART sadly does not go all the way into San Jose very well, so the best way is to transfer to CalTrain. Milbrae is usually the easiest and best station to transfer.
    • Either of the above options takes less than twenty minutes, maybe longer if you have to wait a long time due to non-rush-hour traffic.
  • On CalTrain, you will get to sit down, relax, and can even eat and drink; this part of our journey takes maybe an hour or so. Go to San Jose Diridon station.
    From Diridon, a transit hub, you have a variety of options, bus and light rail, depending on which hotel you are going to. VTA Light Rail #902 will take you straight to the convention center.
  • Q: I’d like something a little less transit-heavy or complicated, please? It doesn’t have to be accessible.
    An intermediate option is to take a taxi/rideshare/shuttle from the airport to CalTrain, and then from CalTrain San Jose Diridon to your hotel.

  • Q: Can’t I take a shuttle or a rideshare or a taxi direct to my hotel? Does that cost a lot?
    • Our estimated fare for a taxi from SFO to the convention center is about a hundred dollars. There’s probably a better way. 
    • For a wheelchair accessible option, we like SuperShuttle. If you reserve in advance, they should be able to provide a wheelchair ramp vehicle. For groups, lots of luggage, or an accessibility option, they work well. They will also adjust their pick-up time (if you’ve given them your flight info) if your flight is late.
    • There are other shuttle van systems, but none that we know offer wheelchair access. Sorry, we don’t have pricing info. SFO has some restrictions on rideshare vehicles; check the SFO web site for details.

  • Q: But when I ask the Internet for directions, it gives me different ones. Who’s right?
    Transit systems are highly variable. At different times of day, different days of the week, and so on, trains run more often, buses pick up less frequently, traffic slows down, buses fill up. We’re trying to give the general best answer here that will work under most conditions. If your flight lands at 3 AM, you’ll have a lot fewer options than someone who arrives at the start of commute time on a weekday.

  • Q: Can’t you tell me what this will cost? I have to change from space money and Bitcoins to dollars!
    We’re sorry; owing to things like rush hour fares, wheelchair/senior/child discounts, and price changes, we don’t dare try to give you cost estimates. The Web sites for the various transit agencies should be able to give you fares. If you plan to take transit the whole way, I would give a rough estimate of $15 per person in one-dollar bills or coins to cover your fares. (While BART and CalTrain should accept credit cards at most of their machines, a bus will usually require something close to exact change.) CalTrain from Milbrae to Diridon is $8.25 for most fares.


VTA Light Rail’s #10 Metro line leaves from the airport. Transfer at Metro/Airport to the 901 line which goes to the convention center.

How To Get From Oakland Airport To San Jose McEnery Convention Center

  • Q: I would like an affordable (but accessible) public transit option.
    There aren’t any good answers here, sorry. The best public transit option will still involve some walking (5 to 10 minutes) and several transfers.
    From Oakland Airport, take the BART connector train to the Coliseum BART station, then take BART south to Fremont. (BART fare should be under five dollars.) From Fremont station, you can take the 181 Express VTA bus into downtown San Jose. (BART can be noisy; noise-sensitive passengers should consider hearing protection.)
    Depending on your destination, there’s several ways to transfer to bus or light rail once you are downtown. See the “From San Jose Airport” options.

  • Q: I’d like something a little less transit-heavy or complicated, please? It doesn’t have to be accessible.
    As per above, take BART to Fremont, then get a cab or rideshare from Fremont.

  • Q: Can’t I take a shuttle or a rideshare or a taxi direct to my hotel? Does that cost a lot? 
    It will cost a lot to hire a taxi or rideshare car all the way from Oakland to San Jose. We recommend taking BART at least part of the way.
    (The only wheelchair accessible option in this area that we can confirm is to reserve with SuperShuttle in advance.)