Commuting from Marin to the East Bay

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Parent Q&A

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  • Hello,

    We are thinking about moving to Marin this summer to be closer to work, but we have a teenage daughter who would like to finish out her last year of middle school in Berkeley. I'm trying to figure out if that's possible, logistically and economically. I know some private schools in Marin bus children in from Berkeley, but I'm unsure if that's an option going the other direction? Does anyone have any ideas/suggestions of places I could look into that would make this commute possible for her? 

    Thank you! 

    It would be a long, two-seat ride, but there’s a bus from San Rafael to El Cerrito del Norte BART. 

    You could call Brandeis Marin in San Rafael. They have a van that shuttles kids to/from El Cerrito and the North Berkeley BART. I don't know if they would be able to drive non-Brandeis students, for liability reasons, but it may be worth asking.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Commuting from Corte Madera to UC Berkeley

May 2010

Our family is moving to Corte Madera and I want to continue to minimize my footprint in the daily commute to UCB. How might I bike or bike/bus/Bart? thanks for making it better for us all, Keeping It Green in Berkeley lindy

The BEST resource around for beginning a commute plan is Simplest solution is to arrange a carpool or vanpool situation. However, using public transit with or without bike is an option. I write this from near 20 years experience as a non-driving 4-county (Alameda, Contracosta, Marin - SF circit) public transit commuter. Here is what I would advise: Either bike on the dedicated bike trails from Corte Madera to downtown San Rafael Transit station, or take a Golden Gate Transit bustfrom CM to SR. From San Rafael take GGT bus to BART (either Richmond or ElCerrito Del Norte)You probably can take your bike with you on this leg. If not you will have to lock up at GGT terminal, so get a beater bike for irony since you will need a good smooth-riding strong but lightweight bike for a daily commute. BART to Berkeley or other East Bay desitinations. You may have an issue taking your bike on BART during commute hours. If so, you could take your bike on AC transit OR take the Bay Trail from Point Richmond or or other points in between to Berkeley... a long but flat shoreside ride of real beauty and calm. Best of Luck and enjoy the quiet of yoru own time in the morning. Far better than being stuck in traffic. Oh - get a Translink/Clipper Card and see if your job is enrolled in the ''Commuter Check'' program. bike-BART-MUNI gal

Congratulations on your move and on keeping it green. There are Golden Gate Transit buses (#40 & 42) that run from the San Rafael Transit Center (3rd & Hetherton St) to the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station. The #42 is less direct and also stops at the Richmond BART station. Depending on where in Corte Madera you live, and the weather, you could bike to San Rafael and take your bike to the east bay on the bus or you can take a Golden Gate transit to the transit hub in San Rafael. You can use to route the trip and play with the different options. The Golden Gate Transit website has information under services about bringing your bike on the bus.

I am sure that there are also casual carpool and rideshare options from that area. has rideshare and matching information. Good luck and happy green commuting. Hope This Helps

Unfortunately there are virtually no public transportation options from Marin to the East Bay unless you want to transfer three times and spend two+ hours each way commuting. Try the TripPlanner on - it's laughable what they propose for that route. On the other hand, if you have a reasonably fuel efficient car and can find someone to carpool with, it's a very short jaunt over the bridge, even at commute hour. I live in the Berkeley hills and work in North San Rafael and it takes me 30 minutes tops each way. Your footprint is less important than the time you spend with your family

It's time-consuming (which is why I ultimately gave up and switched to driving) but not that complicated. Golden Gate Transit has a bus route across the Richmond Bridge -- 40 is the commute-hours-only express and 42 is basically the same route but with many stops. It goes from the transit mall in downtown San Rafael to the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station. So you'd bike or take a local bus from Corte Madera to San Rafael, then the 40 or 42 bus (bike can be racked on the front of the bus), then bike or BART from Del Norte to UCB.

Alternatively, bike or local bus to the Larkspur ferry, ferry to SF, BART to Berkeley. Albany-to-San Rafael commuter

Work in Berkeley, live in San Rafael?

May 2010

We are planning to leave El Cerrito (tired of bad weather, bad middle/high schools) and buy a house in Walnut Creek or San Rafael. It would be great if people who know both or just one of these places would share their experiences. What is the commute to Berkeley like at 8 am and back around 6 pm? Where are we more likely to find a neighborhood with lots of kids, where our kids can walk over to their friend's house rather than having to be driven to scheduled play dates? Is there anything that is really different about the two places that we should take into consideration? We just know both have great schools and warm summers.

Not sure this exactly on point, - but my wife commuted from Berkley to San Rafael for work for a couple of years and found it quite easy and fast [she also got hooked up with a carshare] although periodically it becomes a nightmare. generally speaking traffic is rarely bad other than on the Marin side near San Rafael - but was quite light once on the bridge and through richmond. I also have a client who regularly commutes from Novato to Berkeley to work and he confirms this. As far as walnut creek goes - it seems worse - my parents lived in lafayette for a number of years and we would regularly take the back roads to avoid 24 during commute times. I would vote Marin. robert

Commuting to Alameda from Larkspur/San Rafael

May 2009

We are considering moving to Marin - somewhere near Larkspur/San Rafael. My husband works on Bay Farm in Alameda (near the Oakland airport). Does anyone have experience doing this commute during typical rush hours? How long does it take on a typical weekday? Thanks! Stefany

you know the answer to that. but you can take a look at the live traffic maps, get a feel for how fast/slow moving the traffic is during the proposed commute times... or

try to drive non-commute hours. or hope for a crappy economy and lower employment so less cars are on the road drivin' around

I commute the opposite direction (from Berkeley to San Rafael - 30 minutes) and I see a ton of traffic on 580 as well as the Eastshore and in the maze in the morning. I would strongly discourage you from making this move. In good traffic Larkspur to Bay Farm Island is 45 minutes. In bad it could be an hour-and-a-half! You didn't say what your reasons for moving would be - presumably the school district and Marin quality of life? I think it's a question to ask your husband, since he'll be the one commuting. His quality of life will decline significantly unless he's able to telecommute several days a week. Good luck with your decision! Against Painful Commutes