Transportation at Stanford
Paying for Public Transport
Clipper® is an all-in-one transit card that keeps track of any passes, discount tickets, ride books and cash value that you load onto it, while applying all applicable fares, discounts and transfer rules. This lets you customize your card for your own transit needs. The Clipper card can hold multiple passes, ride books or tickets (which are specific to the transit system being used), as well as up to $300 in cash value at one time. Cash value on your Clipper card can be used to ride any participating transit system (includes Caltrain, BART, SamTrans, VTA, SFMTA, AC Transit, Golden Gate Ferry, San Francisco Bay Ferry). Visit the Clipper card website (https://www.clippercard.com) to order a card or find retail locations.
IMPORTANT: Many stations do not have Clipper reload machines, and Clipper machines in general take a notoriously long time to process payment. Adding value online will take 1 or 2 days to process. Setting up Autoload is heavily recommended - your Clipper card will immediately reload as soon as your balance falls under $10, so you never have to worry about how much value you have left.
There is nothing better to welcome you to California than gas prices at $4 plus per gallon. Generally, the best gas prices are in Mountain View (south on El Camino) or in Redwood City (north on El Camino). There are even cheaper prices in Sunnyvale (south of campus), but it’s farther away than the other two cities.
All vehicles parked on campus are required to have a parking permit. There are day passes for visitor parking and also permits for those living on campus. There are also metered spots near the Med School campus in Parking Structure 1, the LKSC parking lot, and near the Cantor Arts Center. You can check out the current parking permit rates online at (https://transportation.stanford.edu/parking), or stop by the P&TS location in person. All permits, including daily permits, can be purchased online.
If you live off campus, you can purchase A or C parking permits, which allow you to park in designated spots around campus. If you only drive to work occasionally (a few times a month or less) you can purchase daily permits for parking in A or C spots. If you live on campus, you will most likely be purchasing ES parking permits around your residence. Due to recent construction around grad housing, ES parking spots are very limited.
Car Free Incentives
If you commute from off campus but do not plan on buying a parking pass you can join the Commute Club (https://transportation.stanford.edu/commute-club). It rewards people who find alternative forms of transportation up to $300 a year in Clean Air Cash or Carpool Credit. If you live in Escondido Village, Mirrielees, or Rains and do not plan on buying a long-term or monthly parking pass, you can join the EVGR Car Free Club (https://transportation.stanford.edu/evgr/car-free-club). It includes a free annual Zipcar membership and one hour of Zipcar credit each month, as well as a quarterly drawing to redeem Car Freebie points.
Getting Around Campus
Stanford has a very big biking culture, as you’ll soon find out when you try to cross the street when classes are changing. The spread of academic buildings and residences prompts most graduate students to purchase bikes, to speed up the 25 minute walk from their apartment. There are several places to get bikes, including the Stanford Campus Bike Shop at Tressider Union, The Bike Connection on El Camino, and Cardinal Bikes on El Camino. Parking & Transportation Services lists a variety of places to purchase new and used bikes, as well as a host of other good info at https://transportation.stanford.edu/bicycle. Be sure to note that you’re required to register your bike at the P&TS office. Always lock your bike securely to a bike rack, preferably with a U-lock.
Stanford’s free Marguerite shuttle system also covers the entire campus in a dense mesh of routes. You’re never more than a five-minute walk from a stop. Check out the website for specific times, route details, etc. https://transportation.stanford.edu/marguerite.
Note: Be sure to check out the Shopping Express route, which runs to the San Antonio Shopping Center regularly seven days a week. And if you live in Menlo Park there are two shuttles that run there during normal working hours (SMP and Bohannon).
Getting Around the Bay
Caltrain provides commuter rail service along the San Francisco Peninsula, through the South Bay to San Jose and Gilroy. There is a convenient stop near University Ave in Palo Alto that you can get to easily via Stanford’s Marguerite shuttle. If you are living off-campus, apply for Stanford’s Pilot Go Pass program for unlimited travel on Caltrain: https://transportation.stanford.edu/pilotgopass/.
Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) bus system has a Route 22 that runs along El Camino from Menlo Park to San Jose. You can catch the bus at the Palo Alto Transit Station and take it to Showers Dr. to get to the San Antonio Shopping Center (about a 20 min ride) – see shopping needs section. The 22 bus runs about every 10-12 min. Check out the website for specific details (https://www.vta.org/go/routes).
SamTrans has 48 bus routes that run through San Mateo County, some into San Francisco (airport) and Palo Alto.
If you find yourself in need of a car, you can rent at the Enterprise rental office on campus. They have a discount for Stanford students. Their address is 360 Oak Road, Stanford, CA 94305-4502, (650) 833-8060. They are located inside Parking Structure 5 (look on a Stanford campus map), next to the Marguerite Shuttle Office. Open Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Check out their website for more info. (https://transportation.stanford.edu/enterprise)
Zipcar has a strong presence at Stanford, with 50 cars at 18 locations around campus. For brief, occasional use of cars, such as trips across the bay, into San Francisco, or into Napa, Zipcar is a pretty safe bet. More information can be found at the Parking and Transportation Services website. (https://transportation.stanford.edu/zipcar-stanford)
Bay Area Rapid Transit is a rail system that starts at Millbrae and runs through downtown SF and to the East Bay. Main connection between BART and Caltrain is at Millbrae Station, connect here to take BART to the San Francisco Airport (SFO).
Getting to the Airport
Shared ride service to nearby airports. Stanford has a student discount for $6 off each way when a reservation is made online. Use code: T9X58