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I'll be in San Jose downtown for a few days soon. I'll spend the Friday evening in San Francisco. What's the latest time I can leave San Francisco (SF) to San Jose (SJ) via some group transportation service on a Friday evening?

Group transportation service = train, bus, etc. but not taxi/uber/lyft.

What I have found so far:

  • The last Caltrain departs SF Caltrain station at 12:05 am and arrive in SJ Diridon at 1:45 am. The next Caltrain departs SF at 8:28 am, which is a bit too late.
  • The last FlixBus bus departs SF (5th/Townsend) at 10:50 am and arrive in SJ downtown at 11:55 pm. The next FlixBus bus departs SF at 8:00 am, which is a bit too late.
  • No great options on gmaps: the only solution on gmaps leaving SF between 12:05 am and 4 am on a Friday evening takes 3.5h to reach SJ (info from ajd, thanks!).

Is there any option departing SF to SJ between 12:05 am and 4 am on a Friday evening?

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    Did you try Google Maps transit? It lists several options, you can take BART through the East Bay to Berryessa leaving Montgomery St. in SF at 12:31am, changing at 12th St Oakland. You can also take Samtrans route 397 leaving SF at 2:25am, then change in Palo Alto for VTA route 22....this option take you 3.5 hours though.
    – ajd
    Aug 20, 2022 at 20:03
  • @ajd thanks, yes no great options on gmaps indeed. I was hoping for another FlixBus style solution that isn't on gmaps. Aug 20, 2022 at 20:11

2 Answers 2

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There is no such practical option. The region's All Nighter bus network (map is pretty up to date with recent COVID service changes) has fairly extensive options within San Francisco, regular transbay service and connections along key East Bay corridors, and one hourly extremely slow SamTrans route that will get you to Palo Alto if you're willing to sit on it for over 2 hours in the middle of the night.

You could conceivably do something awful like take that bus to Palo Alto and catch the first VTA 22 to San Jose at 5am, but this is really more of an all-night bus joyriding expedition than transportation.

Private bus operators have, at various times, offered late night service linked to special events, concerts, etc... Rhythm Shuttle's LNX was one of those, but they appear to have suspended service last summer due to the pandemic and high costs, with no visible plans to return.

Other options:

  • Catch the last BART train out of SF (leaves Powell at 12:29 AM, arrives Berryessa / North San Jose at 1:54 AM) and take taxi/Uber/Lyft from there.

  • Catch the first BART train out of SF (leaves Powell at 5:13 AM, arrives Berryessa / North San Jose at 6:25 AM).

  • Take various AC Transit all night bus routes (800 to 1T to 801) to Fremont and taxi/Uber/Lyft from there, but again, this comes closer to an experience than practical transportation: you can depart SF around 2 AM and make it to Fremont around 4:30 AM

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  • Thanks, I didn't expect the Bart to be faster than Caltrain. Good option! Too bad it stops at 00:29. Aug 20, 2022 at 20:51
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    Caltrain is faster during the day on weekdays (obviously "faster" depends on where in SF you start and where in San Jose you need to go) when there's limited and express service (1:06 from SF to Diridon if you take a baby bullet), but the night trains that stop at every local stop are a long slow ride if you're going all the way to San Jose (roughly 1:40). Aug 21, 2022 at 3:57
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The latest time you can leave San Francisco for San Jose via group transportation on a Friday evening is at 10:30 PM. Caltrain's last train departs from San Francisco at this time and arrives in San Jose around midnight. Check the official Caltrain schedule for any updates or changes. Use Google Maps for real-time navigation and directions.

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    as mentioned in the question and confirmed on the Caltrain website, the 10:30 train is not the last train; there is one leaving shortly after midnight.
    – mlc
    May 16 at 17:29

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