Living in the Bay Area is amazing. You have access to the best restaurants, the best culture and the best people anywhere in the country. However, with millions of people enjoying the Bay Area with you, things are bound to get a bit crowded, especially during peak commute hours.
Whether you’re new to this region or you’ve lived here for years, from Hayward to San Francisco, the Bay Area is notorious for crazy traffic and packed public transportation. If commuting is a must for you, there are a few things you can try to make this daily hassle a little more manageable. In this post, we’ll provide you with some Bay Area commuting tips which may save you time, money and help eliminate future frustrations.
Public Transportation in the Bay Area
Many Bay Area residents choose not to deal with the frustration of owning a car and fighting daily traffic. Thankfully, there is an abundance of options to choose from when it comes to public transportation in and around the Bay Area. There are handy regional transit systems you can take advantage of, such as:
- Bay Area Rapid Transportation, or BART: BART is a subway system connecting cities throughout the Bay Area.
- AC Transit bus system: The bus system offers routes through all of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
- Caltrain: This commuter train system runs along the Peninsula between San Francisco, San Jose and Gilroy.
Many of the area’s counties and cities also feature local transit systems for when you need to get from point A to point B within a smaller area. This includes San Francisco’s Muni network of fuel-efficient metros, streetcars and cable cars.
If you decide to take advantage of the Bay Area’s public transportation systems, you may find that they are a bit crowded, especially during peak commute times. However, here are a few tips to help you avoid crowds:
- Plan ahead to ensure you have the best route and transit times.
- Use easy payment options like the Clipper Card, and save money each time you ride.
- Make your ride a little more comfortable by “upstreaming.” Simply take the BART train in the opposite direction a stop or two, then cross the platform to find a less crowded train car.
If you commute via public transportation, the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Ordinance rewards commuters by providing a pre-tax deduction for their transportation expenses, providing subsidies for transit expenses or insisting on employer-provided transit.
Driving in the Bay Area
Whether driving is a must for your job or you prefer to be the one behind the wheel, there are a few things you should know about driving in the Bay Area. Here are some pro tips on how to survive your morning and evening drive:
- Carpool: If you know a neighbor, coworker or friend going your way, invite them to join you for the ride. Carpooling to work in the Bay Area saves you tons of time and money. Extra people in your car means you can use the express lane or the HOV lane, which may reduce your drive time by up to 30 to 40 minutes each way. You also receive a discounted bridge toll. Even if you don’t know anyone to carpool with, several sites and apps serve as carpool match programs, which help you find nearby people going in the same direction. Save time and make a new friend in the process!
- Go green: The State of California allows owners of electric and hybrid cars, like those made in the nearby Tesla factory, to use the coveted carpool lanes even if you’re the only one in the car. Plus, these cars often qualify for tax breaks and better parking spots.
- Plan your routes and times carefully: Apps like WAZE allow you to choose your routes with care, picking the way that will save you the most time. Sometimes the scenic route may be the best way to go. Plus, if you can head to work a little later, you’ll save yourself the hassle of fighting your way through peak rush hour traffic.
- Use traffic to your advantage: If all else fails and you find yourself stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, use that time to your advantage. Your favorite podcasts, music and audiobooks can make the experience more enjoyable. You may even be able to learn a thing or two while you’re on the road.
Driving in traffic can lead to a lot of frustration and road rage. However, with these tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to commute to work with your sanity intact.
Marcotte Properties has Apartments for Commuters
At Marcotte Properties, we choose our community locations with care, strategically locating them to ensure they’re every commuter’s dream. When you live in one of our luxurious and comfortable apartments, you’ll find that you have easy access to many of the region’s major highways and public transportation systems. That means quicker commutes to work, which saves you time, energy and money.