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Who does not enjoy a free ride? While most transit agencies levy fares when boarding transit vehicles, a plentiful of services give riders a free ride. However, many of these operate during commute periods or weekdays only; check their schedules first. And I did not list down those that require a shuttle pass before boarding to avoid confusion among readers and riders.

East Bay

Alameda and Contra Costa Counties operate a lot of free shuttles connecting communities and BART stations. These include:

  • Broadway Shuttle (also known the B, operated by AC Transit)

    • Operates along Broadway in Downtown Oakland between Uptown and Jack London Square
    • Service to Koreatown and Valdez Triangle operates Friday and Saturday nights
  • Cal State University East Bay (between CSU East Bay-Hayward and Hayward BART)
  • City of Alameda:

    • Estuary Crossing Shuttle
    • Harbor Bay Business Park
    • Paratransit Shuttle
    • Target Shuttle (Alameda Landing)
  • County Connection

    • Route 3 (Martinez loop, starting and ending at Martinez Amtrak)
    • Route 4 (Downtown Walnut Creek loop, starting and ending at Walnut Creek BART)
    • Route 5 (Walnut Creek BART – Creekside)
    • Route 7 (Shadelands loop, starting and ending at Pleasant Hill BART)
  • Emery-Go-Round (between MacArthur BART and Emeryville)

    • Shellmound/Powell route operates daily
    • Hollis and Watergate Express operate weekdays only
  • San Leandro LINKS (loops around San Leandro, starting and ending at San Leandro BART)

North Bay and San Francisco

Not a lot of free services operate in the North Bay and San Francisco; however, these services exist, if you know where to find them. These include:

  • Hamilton Shuttle (operates around Hamilton in Novato from Alameda del Prado park-and-ride @ US-101)
  • PresidiGo (around San Francisco’s Presidio)

    • Around the Park (Crissy Field and Presidio Hills)
    • Downtown Shuttle (to Transbay Terminal) – select trips only outside peak periods weekdays and all weekend trips
  • San Francisco State Shuttle (between Daly City BART and San Francisco State)

San Mateo County

San Mateo County operates one of the largest and most comprehensive free transit networks in the region, ferrying passengers between Caltrain and BART train stations, and business centers and residential areas around the county.

A full listing and schedules can be found here

These include:

  • Balboa Park BART – Sierra Point (Brisbane)
  • Between Bayhill & Cherry and:
  • Between Bayshore (Daly City) and:
    • Bayshore Caltrain
    • Brisbane (also serves Bayshore Caltrain and Grand Avenue)
    • Serramonte Shopping Center (also serves Balboa Park and Daly City BART)
  • South City Shuttle (a loop service around South San Francisco, originating from South SF BART)
  • Seton Shuttle (between Daly City BART and Seton Medical Center)
  • Between South San Francisco BART and:
    • Centennial Towers (also serves Caltrain)
    • Oyster Point (also serves Ferry terminal)
    • Utah Street-Grand Avenue (also serves Ferry terminal)
  • Between Millbrae BART/Caltrain and:
    • Broadway Caltrain
    • Burlingame Bayside
    • North Burlingame
    • North Foster City
  • Between Hillsdale Caltrain and:
    • Belmont Caltrain
    • Campus Drive (San Mateo)
    • Lincoln Centre (Foster City)
    • Mariners’ Island (Foster City)
    • Norfolk Avenue (San Mateo and Foster City)
    • Oracle Campus
  • Between San Carlos Caltrain and:
    • Electronic Arts (Redwood Shores)
    • Oracle Campus
    • Twin Dolphin Blvd and 600 Clipper
  • Between Redwood City Caltrain and:
    • Midpoint Business Park
    • Pacific Shortes
    • Redwood Shores and Bayshore Technology Park
    • Seapoint Centre Business Park
  • Menlo Park Shuttle (operating around Menlo Park from Menlo Park Caltrain, with midday service to Palo Alto Caltrain and Stanford Shopping Center)

Santa Clara County

Silicon Valley may be the heart of the tech world, but, to transport hundreds of thousands of workers between their offices and homes can be a challenge. Santa Clara County has then opted to start dozens of free shuttles designed to connect residents and workers to their homes and businesses, many of them for free. These include:

  • Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), with several routes:

    • ACE Shuttle routes to and from Great America ACE:
      • Gray Line (South Sunnyvale)
      • Green Line (North Santa Clara)
      • Orange Line (Mountain View)
      • Purple Line (West Milpitas)
      • Red Line (North Sunnyvale)
      • Yellow Line (South Santa Clara)
      • Brown Line (North San Jose)
      • Violet Line (East Milpitas)
    • Airport Flyer (Route 10, operating between Santa Clara Caltrain and Metro/Airport VTA Light Rail via San Jose International Airport)
    • DASH (Route 201, around Downtown San Jose from San Jose Diridon Caltrain)
  • Menlo Park Shuttle (operating around Menlo Park from Menlo Park Caltrain, with midday service to Palo Alto Caltrain and Stanford Shopping Center)

  • East Palo Alto Shuttle
  • Palo Alto Shuttle 

  • Stanford Marguerite (operating to and from Stanford University)
  • Mountain View Community Shuttle (loop services around Mountain View from Caltrain)
  • MVgo (shuttle services to North Bayshore and East Whisman businesses)

Other services that serve Caltrain and VTA Light Rail stations include:

  • Between Mountain View Caltrain/VTA Light Rail and:
    • Duane Avenue (Mountain View)
    • North Bayshore
  • Between Lawrence Caltrain and:
    • Bowers/Walsh (Sunnyvale)
    • Duane Avenue (Mountain View)
    • Mission College (Santa Clara)
  • Between San Jose Caltrain and Tamien Caltrain (weekends only)​