Buses and Trains To The Fifty…and More!

VTA light rail car passing Levi's Stadium

Background and Disclaimer

The National Football League (NFL) will crown its new champion in Santa Clara.  The Carolina Panthers will play the Denver Broncos for that championship at Super Bowl 50 (L) on Sunday, February 7 at 3:30pm. Over 70,000 people are expected at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara that Sunday for the championship game.

As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, American football fans nationwide and worldwide will travel to San Francisco to experience “Super Bowl City” and the NFL Experience.  These fans may also attend other events and parties leading to the big game itself in Santa Clara.  These Bay Area transit agencies will be particularly impacted as fans will use them to travel to and from various Super Bowl 50 activities:

The purpose of this guide is to inform Super Bowl attendees and staff of the bus and rail options available for Super Bowl Sunday – and the week before. This guide will also have transit information for those who are also attending the surrounding festivities (some official; others unofficial) in San Francisco. Finally, this guide will also detail transit information for those who will not be at the game nor the accompanying festivities.

As with all other transit guides published here, this guide is being published as a public service. The Silicon Valley Transit Users are NOT responsible for anything that happens to you as a result of using the tips and advice of this guide. Please contact the transit agencies listed throughout this guide for questions regarding schedules or fares.

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Transit Basics To Know

Unless otherwise noted, all Bay Area transit agencies – especially those serving Super Bowl 50 events mentioned here – will run on a regular weekday or weekend schedule. Also, unless otherwise noted, all standard bus and rail fares (and their policies) apply.

Crowded Caltrain car. Courtesy @Caltrain_News

Crowded Caltrain car. Courtesy @Caltrain_News

Expect standing room only (SRO) conditions on Caltrain, BART, MUNI and VTA over the next two weeks. This will be especially the case on Super Bowl Saturday and Sunday in San Jose and Santa Clara. Make sure to make room for others and be polite when riding the buses and trains.

Even with added security, watch out for those who wish to ruin the good times Super Bowl 50 should bring. Here’s how to be safe on buses, trains, bicycles, and (if necessary) your car at all times.

Want to know the latest transit and fare information before, during and after the Super Bowl? Dial “511” from any telephone in the Bay Area or visit their web site to obtain this information.

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Super Bowl Sunday “Will Call” Ticket Window Site

Avaya Stadium – home of the San Jose Earthquakes – will serve as the “Will Call” ticket office for Super Bowl 50. The VTA’s 10 FREE Airport shuttle bus serves the Stadium.

Picking up your Super Bowl 50 game ticket(s) at Will Call? Here’s how you can reach Avaya Stadium via buses and Caltrain from most Bay Area points.

PROTIP: Picking up your Super Bowl 50 tickets on Super Bowl Sunday? After picking up your tickets, take the VTA 10 FREE Airport bus at the stop in front of Avaya Stadium. (That bus is marked “Metro/Airport”.) At the end of the line (Metro/Airport light rail station) cross N. 1st Street to the northbound VTA light rail platform and board one of the express trains marked “Levi’s Stadium” or “Super Bowl” to the game. You will need special fare to board the light rail train, detailed below.

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Super Bowl Activities (February 1-5)

Before the Super Bowl on February 7, events throughout the Bay Area will take place to celebrate the game itself, its history, and American football in general. Information on public transit alternatives to and from these events is listed below.

Super Bowl Opening Night (San Jose)

On Monday, February 1 starting at 5pm, Super Bowl Opening Night takes place at the SAP Center in San Jose. This is the first time that players on both teams will interview the media for Super Bowl Sunday. Fans will be allowed to sit in the stands and watch players and coaches interview media from around the world.

Our Caltrain & VTA Transit Guide to SAP Center helps attendees beat the traffic gridlock and expected parking hassles for Opening Night. Plan on arriving as early as possible to avoid overcrowding on the buses and trains, and to allow for security checks at the SAP Center entrance.

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Super Bowl City (San Francisco)

Super Bowl City takes place along Market Street and the Embarcadero (including some some side streets) in San Francisco. Super Bowl City will be open from January 30-February 7. The theme for this free to the public “fan village” is to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl Game.  Super Bowl City features games and exhibits highlighting the San Francisco Bay Area’s culture, arts, and technology advances. Super Bowl City will also have free concert shows held at stages set up along the Embarcadero.

To allow for Super Bowl City, many streets in downtown San Francisco will be closed until mid-February. This story from KRON has more details on these street closures.

Want to beat the traffic nightmare and parking hassles in downtown San Francisco during Super Bowl Week? Your best bet for accessing Super Bowl City is via BART, which runs underneath Market Street in downtown San Francisco. Expect longer BART trains to handle travelers to and from Super Bowl City, in addition to regular commuters.

Going to Super Bowl City from the Peninsula or the South Bay? Take any San Francisco (north) bound Caltrain to Millbrae. At Millbrae, transfer to any northbound (Pittsburg/Bay Point or Richmond) BART train to the Embarcadero station. Be advised that some exits at Embarcadero station will be closed for security reasons. Follow signs, station ambassadors, and security that will guide you between the station and security entrances.

Going to Super Bowl City? Before you go, please note the security policy on what will be allowed – and banned – at Super Bowl City to save time and convenience.

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NFL Experience (San Francisco)

The NFL Experience is the American football fan’s theme park. It features interactive games and exhibits featuring the history of American football, with special emphasis on the history of the Super Bowl game. You can also go shopping for Super Bowl 50 team uniforms and other memorabilia at shops within the NFL Experience.  The NFL Experience takes place at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco from January 30 thru February 7.

Tickets for the NFL Experience are $35 for adults and $25 for children up to 12 years old.

The Moscone Center is a short walk from several BART stations.  Going to the NFL Experience from the Peninsula or the South Bay? Take any San Francisco (north) bound Caltrain to Millbrae. At Millbrae, transfer to any northbound (Pittsburg/Bay Point or Richmond) BART train to either the Powell Street or Montgomery Street stations.  Be advised that some exits at BART stations will be closed for security reasons. Follow signs, station ambassadors, and security that will guide you between the station and security entrances at Moscone Center.

Plan on arriving early to avoid the overcrowding that will occur at the NFL Experience.

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Downtown San Jose

As part of the Super Bowl experience, several events will take place in downtown San Jose. For instance, Downtown Ice at San Jose will be extended to February 7. Also, a South First Friday “Winter Market” will take place along South First Street in downtown San Jose. In addition, there will be games and activities at San Pedro Square, which will be known as “Super San Pedro Square” during Super Bowl week.

Finally, during Super Bowl Week, there will be American football-based activities, a cafe/beer garden and a light show at Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose.

Let our Downtown San Jose transit guide help you beat the traffic gridlock and parking hassles to and from these events.

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Super Bowl Saturday (February 6)

On February 6, there will be no VTA light rail service between Great America and Lick Mill stations. Instead, VTA will run substitute bus service between Old Ironsides, Lick Mill, Champion and Tasman stations in both directions.

If you’re taking VTA light rail to stops beyond Levi’s Stadium from Tasman south to Winchester, transfer to the shuttle bus at Tasman station. Need help? Look for uniformed VTA staff to guide you between light rail and the shuttle bus. Details are highlighted in the downloadable map below.

Super Bowl Saturday light rail map. Courtesy VTA.

VTA’s 55, 57 and 60 bus lines stop at the Old Ironsides light rail station – a 10 minute walk to Levi’s Stadium.

On Saturday from 10am-6pm, VTA will run all light rail lines every 15 minutes. Saturday schedule frequency reverts after 6pm.

Otherwise, all other Bay Area transit agencies will run their regular Saturday schedule with normal fares.

Some additional tips for Saturday:

  • Expect extra security on BART Caltrain, VTA light rail and some buses
  • Expect standing room only (SRO) conditions on Caltrain and VTA light rail to and from the Levi’s Stadium area.
  • Allow at least an additional hour travel time if you must travel aboard any bus or train

In addition to the events mentioned above, there are more events held the night before Super Bowl 50.

Concert at Super Bowl City (7pm)

Chris Isaak and Alicia Keys will headline a FREE concert series at Super Bowl City along Market Street in San Francisco. That concert starts at 7pm. The concert itself takes place at the “City Stage” within Super Bowl City along the Embarcadero.

See the Super Bowl City section above for public transit options to this FREE concert.

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EDM Concert @ O.co Coliseum

Across the Bay in Oakland, at O.Co Coliseum, a huge Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival will take place. SUPERCITY50 features popular EDM artists like Alesso, Diplo and The Chainsmokers. It is scheduled to be an all day and evening festival. You must be over 18 years old to purchase tickets here.

Take BART to the Coliseum stop. Upon getting off the BART train, follow signs for the  short footbridge walk to O.co Coliseum.

Going to this EDM festival from the South Bay? Our transit guide to Oakland Raiders football describes VTA’s 181 express bus connection from San Jose and Milpitas to the Fremont BART station.  Arrive early to allow for the heavy security expected for this event.

PROTIP: to connect to the last VTA 181 express bus leaving Fremont at 12:05am, catch the Fremont-bound BART train leaving Coliseum/Airport at 11:32pm, arriving in Fremont at 11:58pm. Plan your EDM festival trip accordingly.

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The Night Before (AT&T Park)

Metallica will be playing a single concert at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Saturday night. Cage the Elephant is the opening act. Doors open at 5pm.

Arrive early to allow for the heavy security that is expected for the concert.

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Super Community Celebration (Santa Clara)

Join MVBL Feast for an exciting day-long FREE festival to countdown the final hours leading up to Super Bowl 50. The City of Santa Clara invites fans of all teams and ages to the Super Community Celebration at Santa Clara University on February 6, 2015. Come experience firsthand the excitement as Santa Clara counts down the hours to the big game.

The celebration is right across El Camino Real from the Santa Clara Caltrain station. There, five VTA bus lines, Capitol Corridor, ACE trains and Caltrain stop within a 5-10 minute walk from the festivities.

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WWE Live (SAP Center at San Jose)

On February 6 at 7:30pm, WWE will host its “LIVE: Road to WrestleMania” show at SAP Center at San Jose. The wrestling starts at 7:30pm.

Our transit guide to SAP Center has bus and train information to help you beat traffic gridlock and parking hassles.

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Super Bowl Sunday (February 7)

To help ease expected overcrowding and motor vehicle gridlock before, during and after the game, please consider these two sentences of advice:

No Super Bowl 50 game ticket? AVOID LEVI’S STADIUM!!!!!

Not working at Levi’s Stadium on Game Day? AVOID LEVI’S STADIUM!!!!!

It’s not worth the risk of being cited, detained or even arrested by law enforcement officials.

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Basic Super Bowl Sunday Transit Tips

If at all possible, arrange to be at home on Super Bowl Sunday to avoid the expected vehicle traffic – especially in Santa Clara.

Do you have to go to work that’s not related to Super Bow 50?  Allow at least 30 more minutes’ travel time.  This is especially the case in Santa Clara around Levi’s Stadium due to street closures and detours.

Expect overcrowding on BART, Caltrain and especially VTA light rail. Leave as early as possible to avoid being delayed by crowds attending the Super Bowl.

At Levi’s Stadium before and after the game, train or bus ambassadors and security will help get you to and from the security screening areas.  Follow the directions instructions they will give you to speed your trip to and from the game, and to avoid problems.

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Know the Levi’s Stadium Security and Bag Policy

Plan on arriving at Levi’s Stadium as early as possible. This way, you can get to your seat in time for kickoff. Before you depart the stadium, know the Levi’s Stadium Security Bag Policy thoroughly. This way, you help speed up the expected, lengthy security lines for all fans. In addition, you will know what types of bags and cameras are allowed or banned at the stadium.

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Super Bowl 50 Staff Shuttle Buses

Working at Levi’s Stadium for Super Bowl 50? Shuttle buses are available to transport staff to and from Levi’s Stadium. It’s an alternative to drifrom two locations:

  • Purple Lot 1 @ Oracle on Lafayette St. and Palm Dr. in Santa Clara
  • Avaya Stadium, San Jose (also serving as the “Will Call” ticket office for Super Bowl 50 )

Avaya Stadium is served by VTA’s 10 FREE Airport shuttle bus.

Plan on arriving to either lot at least 2 hours before your shift starts. This allows time to for the shuttle buses to navigate the street closures and detours expected to be in place to access Levi’s Stadium.

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ACE and Capitol Corridor Train Service

The Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) will have a special train to and from Levi’s Stadium for the Super Bowl. The train departs Stockton at 9:15am, arriving at Levi’s Stadium at around 11:07am.  After the game, the train leaves Levi’s Stadium at 9:30pm, arriving in Stockton at 11:28pm. Here’s more information on how to board the special ACE train.

In addition, Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor will have special service to and from Super Bowl 50. Here’s info on how the trains – and their service impact – will operate on Super Bowl Sunday.

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Caltrain will run a special schedule on Super Bowl Sunday. This includes three (3) special trains departing San Francisco at 8:59am, 9:59am and 10:59am, arriving in Mountain View 50 minutes later. In Mountain View, fans can transfer to the special VTA light rail trains that will go directly to Levi’s Stadium. More on what you MUST have to board these special VTA express trains to Levi’s Stadium – in addition to Caltrain – is below.

Parking in any lot operated by Caltrain along its San Francisco-San Jose-Gilroy corridor will be $20 per spot. More details are in their brochure.

Arrive as early as possible to your Caltrain station to beat the expected standing-room only crowds.

After the game, to allow for post-game celebrations , a special northbound Caltrain departs San Jose at 10:30pm, due in Mountain View at 10:49pm. This train makes all local stops to San Francisco, arriving at 12:09am.

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VTA Buses

The map below has details on enhanced local and express bus service to and from Super Bowl 50.

VTA buses directly serving Super Bowl 50. Map courtesy VTA.

Only the 251 express bus line from Fremont BART station will run directly to and from Levi’s Stadium. See below for details on what you will need to board this direct express bus line.

Also, service will be added to the 57 and 60 bus lines, up to 15 minutes before kickoff around 3:30pm. The 55 bus will continue to run every 45 minutes between De Anza College and Old Ironsides light rail station.  These buses can be boarded with normal VTA bus fare.

VTA will also add service on the 10 FREE Airport bus line to keep 15-minute frequencies between Santa Clara Transit Center and Metro/Airport light rail station.

All other VTA buses will run on a normal Sunday schedule.

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VTA Light Rail

VTA will have special express light rail trains serving the following stations ONLY:

  • Mountain View (directly to Great America/Levi’s Stadium)
  • Alum Rock (stopping at Great Mall, I-880/Milpitas, and ending at Lick Mill)
  • Santa Teresa (stopping at Ohlone/Chynoweth, Capitol, Convention Center, Civic Center, Metro/Airport, Tasman, and ending at Lick Mill)
  • San Jose Diridon Station (stopping at Convention Center, then the same stops as service from Santa Teresa)

The clickable map below has details on VTA light rail service on Super Bowl Sunday.

Super Bowl Sunday light rail map. Courtesy VTA.

The next section below details what you MUST have in order to board the special VTA express light rail trains to and from Levi’s Stadium.

To ensure regular light rail passengers in Mountain View and Santa Clara reach their destinations, VTA will run substitute bus service between Mountain View and Baypointe in both directions. Be advised: for security reasons, the substitute buses will NOT stop at the following stations:

  • NASA/Bayshore
  • Moffett Park
  • Great America
  • Old Ironsides
  • Lick Mill
  • Champion

Please allow at least 30 minutes’ more travel time as the buses must navigate thru traffic and street detours due to Super Bowl 50.

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Super Bowl Sunday VTA/Caltrain Fares

VTA EventTik App screenshot featuring Super Bowl day pass prices.

To board the special VTA express light rail trains or the 251 express bus line to and from Levi’s Stadium for Super Bowl 50, you MUST have the following:

Your VALID Super Bowl 50 Game Day Ticket(s)
Your prepaid and activated EventTIK Mobile Ticket(s)

The special VTA fare for light rail or the 251 express bus is $20 per person. A combined VTA/Caltrain “day pass” fare is $40 per person. A 50-cent “convenience fee” will be added to your purchase, with a maximum of six (6) day passes per app purchased.

You can download EventTIK for your Android at Google Play or Apple iPhone at the App Store, respectively.

Per a conversation I had with “Sam” in VTA Customer Service, this fare arrangement for direct Super Bowl Sunday service is being done for “security reasons.” Call VTA Customer Service at (408)321-2300 if you have Super Bowl 50 game day tickets and you do NOT have a smartphone or tablet for the required app.

Otherwise, all normal VTA and Caltrain transit fares will apply.

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BART To/From Super Bowl 50

Take any Fremont-bound BART train to the end of the line (Fremont station). At Fremont BART, follow the signs and staff on hand to the VTA’s special 251 express bus that will take you to Levi’s Stadium and Super Bowl 50. Make sure you have your $20 prepaid/activated EventTIK app fare ready before boarding the bus.

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Private Bus Service To/From Super Bowl 50

Super Bowl 50 Fan Express will have special luxury bus service for fans staying in select hotels in the Bay Area. These buses depart from several hotels in San Francisco, Oakland, around San Francisco’s and Oakland’s airports, and even Larkspur. Round-trip only fare is $55 per person.

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Streets and Park/Ride Lots

The City of Santa Clara has a list of street and bike path closures during Super Bowl week only.

All VTA park and ride lots will be open except River Oaks which will be closed Saturday and Sunday. The City of Mountain View will have paid parking lots available on Super Bowl Sunday as well.

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Super Bowl Sunday Parties

Super Bowl parties held in bars and restaurants are too numerous to mention here. As an alternate to driving home inebriated, use the Google trip planner for an alternative bus or train trip on Super Bowl Sunday. The Google Trip Planner helps you get to and from your party by bus and/or train. The $2.00 base adult fare for VTA buses and light rail is a fraction of the cost of a taxicab or ride share company will likely be on Super Bowl Sunday.

Can’t take a bus or train home from your Super Bowl party? Take a taxicab or “ride sharing” service – especially if you are drinking. In addition to the possibility of higher than normal fares, expect a heavy police presence on the roads. If you must drink, don’t drive. If you must drive, don’t drink.

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How To Stay In Touch With Us On Super Bowl Sunday

There are several ways you can follow the transit situation throughout Super Bowl week.

One such way is to follow @svtransiupdts on Twitter. If you’re stuck on a VTA bus or train due to traffic or other reason, contact the feed with full details. Here’s the policy on how you can update us and others on what’s going on.

Also, the @svtransitusers Twitter feed will be monitored for how riders are handling Super Bowl Week and Super Bowl Sunday. Use the hashtag #svtuatsb50 when you notice VTA and other Silicon Valley transit agencies doing good – or bad – over the next week.

Stay safe and have fun at Super Bowl 50!

Eugene Bradley
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users

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