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Public Transportation


  • Transit Service
  • Reduced Fares
  • Mobility Ambassadors
  • ADA Paratransit

Transit Service

The San Mateo County Transit District manages a range of public transit services, including SamTrans bus service, paratransit service for individuals who cannot use fixed-route transit, and Caltrain rail service.

SamTrans | Caltrain | BART | Muni | VTA

SamTrans

SamTrans provides fixed-route bus service throughout San Mateo County and into parts of San Francisco and Palo Alto. All SamTrans buses are equipped with lifts or ramps that can be used by people who use mobility devices and/or have difficulty climbing steps. The entry to each bus also has grab rails and a kneeling feature that lowers the front end so the first step is easier to reach. Every bus has two wheelchair spaces—the operator will secure the device in place, and offer a lap and shoulder belt for added safety. All SamTrans buses are equipped with an automated system that makes amplified announcements of major transfer points, intersections and destinations. An electronic message board inside the bus simultaneously displays the same information. External loudspeakers announce the route number and destination of the bus at all bus stops. Priority seating for seniors and people with disabilities is available at the front of the bus. Seniors and people with disabilities with approved ID may save by paying the Eligible Discount fare.

Free travel training is available for people with disabilities who want to learn to ride SamTrans buses or Caltrain. For more information about travel training, call 650-508-6202.

For more information about SamTrans service, call 1-800-660-4287 (TTY 650-508-6448) or visit www.samtrans.com. Redi-Wheels paratransit is available for people whose disabilities or health conditions prevent them from using the bus. See the ADA Paratransit tab at the top of the page for more information.

Caltrain

Caltrain operates commuter rail service on the Bay Area Peninsula between San Jose and San Francisco, with commute-hour service to Gilroy. Caltrain has 13 stations in San Mateo County, connecting with BART at the Millbrae Transit Center. The older “Gallery” style train sets have a wheelchair accessible car that can accommodate up to three wheelchairs. The newer Bombardier train sets can accommodate up to 10 wheelchairs, two in each car, space permitting. Boarding assistance is available from the conductors, including the use of a lift or bridge plate for wheelchair users and those who have difficulty with stairs. Caltrain stations that are not currently wheelchair accessible are 22nd Street, South San Francisco, Broadway, Atherton, Stanford and College Park. The other 26 stations are fully accessible. All Caltrain stations provide free parking for passengers with a Disabled placard.

Seniors and people with disabilities with appropriate ID may save by paying the Eligible Discount fare. All fares must be paid prior to boarding, either by tagging on (and then tagging off at the destination) with a Clipper card at the Clipper reader or by purchasing a paper ticket from the ticket machines on the station platforms. Senior Clipper cards are available by mail (see www.511.org or www.clippercard.com for details) or at Bay Area transit agencies. Regional Transit Connection Clipper cards for people with disabilities are available at Bay Area transit agencies.

For more information on Caltrain service, call 1-800-660-4287 (TTY 650-508-6448), or visit www.caltrain.com.

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)

BART is a regional rail service with six stations in northern San Mateo County (Daly City, Colma, South San Francisco, San Bruno, San Francisco Airport and Millbrae). The entire BART system consists of five lines with 44 stations in San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

BART has many features to make it easy for seniors and persons with disabilities to use it. There is disabled parking at all stations with parking lots. All BART stations have escalators and elevators to the platforms. From the platform, there is level boarding to the trains. All BART cars have space for wheelchairs. Station Agents are available at all times in each station to help seniors and persons with disabilities.

For more information on BART service or ticket vendors call 650-992-2278 (TTY 510-839-2220) or visit www.bart.gov.

San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni)

Muni provides public transportation in San Francisco and connects with SamTrans, Caltrain and BART. Muni buses are fully accessible on all lines.  Muni Metro Light Rail services are accessible at all stations and at key stops on the surface portion of the Metro lines.

For a brochure or more information on Muni’s Accessible Services, please call the Muni Accessible Services Program at 415-701-4485 (TTY 415-701-4730) or visit www.sfmta.com/getting-around/accessibility.

For more information on Muni service call 415-701-2311 (TTY 415-701-2323) or visit www.sfmta.com.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)

VTA provides public transit in Santa Clara County and connects with SamTrans in Palo Alto. All buses are equipped with lifts or ramps to make boarding easier for persons who use mobility devices or for anyone who may have difficulty negotiating steps. VTA requires that all mobility devices be secured on their buses.  VTA’s light rail stations provide level boarding—meaning that there are no steps required to get on board—or ramps for boarding assistance. For more information on VTA service, call 408-321-2300 (TTY 408-321-2330) or visit www.VTA.org.

For individuals who are unable to use VTA’s bus or light rail services due to their disabilities, paratransit is provided as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Information about VTA’s ADA paratransit can be obtained by calling Outreach at 408-436-2865 (TTY 408-436-0155).

 

Reduced Fares


Discounts on Public Transit

Seniors (age 65 and older) are eligible for discounted fares on SamTrans, Caltrain, and all other Bay Area public transit systems if they possess a valid photo ID, or a Medicare Card, or a Department of Motor Vehicles Disabled Placard Identification Card. The Senior Clipper Card offers the same features and discounts as the RTC card. For SamTrans, they may purchase an Eligible Discount Monthly pass, which is only available on a Clipper card. Seniors can apply for a Senior Clipper Card at SamTrans Headquarters or through the mail. The card is free and does not expire. For more information or to request an application, call SamTrans at 1-800-660-4287 (TTY650-508-6448) or visit www.samtrans.com/clipper.

RTC Discount ID Card

The Regional Transit Connection (RTC) Discount ID Card allows passengers (under age 65) with disabilities to ride at a discounted fare on Bay Area transit systems, including SamTrans, Caltrain, BART and Muni. The RTC Discount Card is available to qualified persons with disabilities. RTC Discount Cards are issued as “Clipper cards”; once loaded with funds, they can be used to pay your fare on most Bay Area transit systems. Seniors can apply for a senior Clipper card at SamTrans headquarters or through the mail. For more information or to request an application, call SamTrans at 1-800-660-4287 (TTY 650-508-6448) or visit www.samtrans.com/clipper, or www.511.org.

 

Mobility Ambassadors

Mobility Ambassadors are volunteers who help older adults and people with disabilities become familiar with their transportation options. A Mobility Ambassador can help you with many transportation-related issues, including planning a trip using public transit, finding a driver safety class, and learning about alternatives to driving, such as community shuttles. Ambassadors can also give educational presentations, conduct group and one-on-one rider training, and organize group trips on transit to interesting destinations.

Ambassadors are skilled in helping you navigate the Bay Area, making connections with other Bay Area transit services such as Caltrain, BART, and VTA.

You can meet with an Ambassador by appointment at host senior centers throughout the County. Current host centers include:

  • Doelger Senior Center, Daly City
  • Twin Pines Senior and Community Center, Belmont
  • Foster City Senior Wing, Foster City
  • Little House, Menlo Park
  • Menlo Park Senior Center, Menlo Park
  • Fair Oaks Adult Activity Center, Redwood City
  • Veterans Memorial Senior Center, Redwood City
  • San Bruno Senior Center, San Bruno
  • San Carlos Adult Community Center, San Carlos
  • Martin Luther King Senior Center, San Mateo
  • San Mateo Senior Center, San Mateo
  • Half Moon Bay Senior Center, Half Moon Bay

To learn more about the Mobility Ambassador Program, to schedule an appointment with an Ambassador, or to volunteer, contact Jean Conger at 650‑508-6362, or email us at Ambassador@samtrans.com.

 

ADA Paratransit

If you are unable to use the SamTrans regular bus service some or all of the time due to a disability, you may be eligible for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit service. SamTrans operates the paratransit service called Redi-Wheels on the bayside of the county and RediCoast on the coastside. Paratransit buses, vans and sedans serve most of the county and will come to your home and take you to your destination. Trips can be reserved up to seven days in advance and as late as one day in advance. Before you can use ADA paratransit, SamTrans will need to evaluate your eligibility; this process may take up to 21 days.

For more information on ADA paratransit service in San Mateo County, call Redi-Wheels/RediCoast at 650-508-6241 or visit www.samtrans.com/accessibility/paratransit. You can also call 1-800-660-4287 for general information on transit and ADA paratransit services.