Commuting from Kensington to San Francisco

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Commuting from Kensington to SF - driving vs. carpool vs. BART

July 2010

I will be commuting to SF starting in August with a new job and need on advice on the best way to go since we just moved here. I will drop my daughters at preschool in Kensington at 8 am. Then I can either drive in, casual carpool in or drive to the nearest BART which I think is El Cerrito and park the car and BART in. Does anyone have experience with how long the commute takes at this time driving solo, driving in a carpool or taking the BART (factoring in finding a parking space, etc). I am most concerned with time not money as once I get into the city I have free parking. My work is close to Embarcadero. If I drop them off at 8, will I be able to get to my job on time at 9? Thanks! Stephanie

The AC Transit bus rocks. Clean, fast, nice views. It cuts a good 20 minutes off of my door-to-door commute compared to BART. You could park your car somewhere along the line all day for free. If you're dropping your daughter in Kensington, you might want to look into the H line, which has stops up and down Arlington, or the G line, which I believe goes up Colusa toward the circle. Only problem is that it only stops at the Transbay Terminal (Mission and Fremont) in SF, so you may have to take local transport once in the city to get to where you're going. Happy Bus Commuter

Dear commuter, You want to get a monthly BART parking pass ($63/month) from to post in your car - that allows you to park in the ''before 10 am'' spots at El Cerrito BART or at N. Berkeley BART(where there is a casual carpool). Then you get a Clipper pass, which gives you a fast entry to BART, works on SF transit as well, and automatically refills your BART card (never again stand at a BART machine). THEN you can drop your children off in Kensington, drive to the BART station of your choice, casual carpool to SF, and take BART back to your parked car. Happy travels fellow commuter

I currently drop my kids off at day care in El Cerrito and take BART (from the El Cerrito Plaza station) to the Embarcadero station. Parking at the BART station isn't a problem and I make it to work before 9am. In the fall I will also be dropping my older daughter at pre-school in Kensington around 8am and I don't see my commute changing too much. If you're quick, you can make the 8:11 train (transfering @ MacArthur) and be at Embarcadero by 8:40 or you can take the 8:19 (direct) and be at Embarcadero by 8:47. Good luck! Emma

Congratulations on your new job. I live in Kensington and work in SF, near the Ball Park. I catch the AC Transit bus from Arlington Ave and it goes directly to the Transbay Terminal, which is about 10-20 min walk from the Embarcadero (depending where you are on the Embarcadero). You will need to get the H bus, which runs along Arlington and through Berkeley. You can park somewhere close to Arlington and catch the bus from there. The bus is actually cheaper than BART. Go to for more details. Fellow commuter

The BART lots tend to fill up by 8:00, but if I were you I would buy a monthly parking pass for either the El Cerrito Plaza or El Cerrito Del Norte BART station. That would guarantee you parking until 10:00 for a relatively low charge ($62 for the Plaza station and $43 for the Del Norte station.) The Bay Bridge at the time of day you're traveling would not be a reliable choice for getting to the Embarcadero by 9:00. Daily commuter

Hello- I take AC Transit Transbay bus which takes you directly to the SF Bus Terminal. I almost always get a seat and it is very comfortable. It is also WIFI capable. I found BART to be overcrowded and I couldn't use my cell phone. Check out the G or H bus @ website. Good luck! Shari

I would recommend Bart if you are close to embarcadero. Driving would be cutting it close once the summer is over. With the s-curve on the bridge, I find that it is slow many days even if you picked up a casual carpool. You could also check as soon as you left childcare and see if you should take Bart or drive depending on the backup on the bridge. Commuter