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July-August 2002
Bailout Plan Averts
Amtrak Shutdown
Does the thought of 22 months of weekends without Caltrain service strike terror
in your heart? Never fear, our tips on how to get around the Peninsula without Caltrain
service will see you through this temporary inconvenience. Clip and save this column,
and ditch the car. Not only will you become an expert on the local bus system (hey, it's not
all that bad!!!), your bad memories will be erased when speedy "Baby Bullet" service
starts running late next year and when CTX ends a few months after that.
Hint 1:
Obtain a free San Mateo County bus system map at the SamTrans Headquarters at 1250 San
Carlos Ave. in San Carlos, or call 1-800-660-4287 to request one via mail.
Hint 2:
To obtain a Santa Clara County bus map, call (408) 321-2300 or toll free (800) 894-9908 (from
area code (650) toll areas) and ask VTA to mail you a copy.
Hint 3:
Caltrain substitute bus service, route RRX, accepts only regular Caltrain tickets, which you
can buy from a staffed Caltrain station when it is open, or through a Caltrain ticket vending machine.
Unfortunately, drivers will NOT accept cash on the bus.
Hint 4:
Unlike Caltrain, you will not be allowed to eat or drink on the RRX or the other buses, and
they won't have restrooms. Plan well.
Hint 5:
The closest KX bus stop to the Hillsdale RRX for southbound KX riders is El Camino Real just
south of Hillsdale Blvd. Northbound KX riders should disembark on Hillsdale at Curtis (a long block
east of El Camino Real). The RRX stop is on El Camino just north of Hillsdale.
Hint 6:
Similarly, in San Jose the VTA 22 bus stop on Santa Clara Street is a long block away from
the Caltrain RRX stop at San Jose Diridon station. You'll have to hike through the station parking lot
to make the connection.
Hint 7:
For schedules, maps, fares and other information, visit
Hint 8:
Don't forget to check the Caltrain website at for supplementary bus service
that will be running during special events like Giants' games.
San Jose - Palo Alto - Hillsdale - San Francisco (4th & King) -
take the Caltrain substitute bus
service RRX which stops at these stations.
To cities between Hillsdale and San Francisco -
From San Francisco:
take southbound SamTrans
bus 292 toward Hillsdale on Mission Street. SamTrans 292 follows the Caltrain route closely except in
San Bruno and Millbrae.
From south of Hillsdale: take bus RRX, or SamTrans KX, 390, or 391 to Hillsdale and transfer to northbound
SamTrans buses 390, 391, or 292. Buses 390 and 391 travel north on El Camino to Daly City.
Ways to Get Around on Weekends without Caltrain
OK, here goes. We know it looks confusing but that's because there are many options!
If your origin and destination points include:
Under the threat of system-wide
shutdown by Amtrak management, the
federal government and Amtrak recently
agreed on a bailout plan. Under the plan, the
federal government will lend Amtrak $100
million followed by a commitment to
provide $170 million, either through a loan
or a grant. The bailout package averts a
national shutdown starting July 4th.
The Bay Area would feel the impact
of an Amtrak shutdown. Caltrain, which
contracts out operations to Amtrak, could
experience temporary service disruptions.
Riders of the state-sponsored Amtrak
Capitol Corridor service could also face
higher fares.
The debate on how to deal with the
Amtrak's immediate situation is closely
related to the debate over the long-term fate
of Amtrak. Since its creation in 1971,
Amtrak has received only a tiny fraction of
the federal subsidies and investment given
to highways and aviation, while being asked
to fulfill an impossible mandate of
becoming self-sufficient. Rail proponents
argue that Amtrak, like other transportation
modes, require ongoing investment by the
federal government.
BayRail urges those concerned about
Amtrak to act on the alerts put out by the
National Association of Rail Passengers at
To SFO -
From San Francisco: take SamTrans bus 292 or KX on Mission Street. Note however, that the KX does
not allow luggage onboard between San Francisco and SFO.
From south of SFO: take bus RRX to Hillsdale and transfer to SamTrans bus 292 on Hillsdale Blvd. east or west
of El Camino, or to KX on Hillsdale Blvd. between the Caltrain tracks and 101. KX provides express service to the
SFO from Hillsdale but charges local bus fares.
To cities between Palo Alto and Hillsdale -
From San Francisco:
take bus RRX to Hillsdale and transfer to
southbound SamTrans 390 or KX toward Palo Alto, or 391 toward Redwood City. Alternatively, take KX toward
Palo Alto on Mission Street. SamTrans buses 390, 391 and KX all travel along El Camino Real south of Hillsdale.
From south of Palo Alto:
take bus RRX or VTA 22 to the Palo Alto train station and transfer to northbound
SamTrans 390 at the station, or to the KX on nearby El Camino Real.
Cities between San Jose and Palo Alto -
VTA bus 22 travels between two of the RRX stops, along El
Camino Real from behind the Palo Alto station (located behind the Palo Alto Bike Station) to Santa Clara Street,
just north of the San Jose Caltrain station.
Taking Greyhound from Sunnyvale or San Jose: Greyhound travels to the Transbay Terminal
in San Francisco from San Jose several times a day and non-stop from Sunnyvale in just 50
minutes. The Sunnyvale Greyhound Depot is on the south side of Evelyn at Mathilda under the
overpass near the Caltrain station. Free parking is available in the lot just west of the depot. You
must buy your $5 ticket in advance from a station agent. See for details.
Be forewarned: the service is not always reliable and frequently runs 10 or more minutes late.
To San Jose Airport -
From Palo Alto or points north,
take bus RRX to San Jose and transfer to westbound
VTA bus 22 on Santa Clara Street to go to the Santa Clara Caltrain station. At Santa Clara station, transfer to the
free VTA Airport Flyer (route 10) which stops at the bus shelter near the Caltrain platforms.
Palo Alto
San Jose
Redwood City
Caltrain RRX
SamTrans KX
SamTrans 292
SamTrans 391
SamTrans 390
VTA 22
VTA 10
Menlo Park
Santa Clara
San Jose
4th and King
Transbay Terminal
Daly City