North Bay-to-San Francisco by train, bus and ferry. How will it work?

The dream of making excursions to San Francisco from the North Bay aboard a train, or venturing north from the city to Wine Country, is closer to reality with the looming start of passenger rail service, but current timetables for the train, ferry and a connecting shuttle indicate riders will have to be adaptable.


While the focus since Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit released its schedule last week has been on commuters — the rail agency’s bread and butter ridership — another key component of service is linking people to San Francisco via the Larkspur ferry.

North Bay residents and others across the Golden Gate, have been looking at SMART’s new timetable to see if it will work for them.

“I’m excited about the SMART train for recreational outings,” Matt Gustafson of Windsor said in an email responding to a Press Democrat query about the train schedule. “I’d rather use the ferry and the train than drive in traffic, deal with SF parking, etc.”

SMART and Golden Gate Bridge officials say they designed the train schedule to be in sync with the ferry. But they also acknowledge the connections leave little time for dilly-dallying.

Commuters will have four minutes to make the short walk to the San Rafael Transit Center from the SMART train stop in downtown San Rafael. That’s to catch the Route 31 shuttle bus, which, at certain times of the day, will arrive at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal with only a few minutes to spare.

“The schedule has been set to allow riders enough time to make their connections, while not…

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