How to Ride

Welcome aboard, SamTrans! Riding the bus in San Mateo County is easy, here’s the five steps you need to know:

Step 1: Planning Your Trip

SamTrans travels throughout San Mateo County and into parts of San Francisco and Palo Alto. Plan your trip with the SamTrans System Map to see which bus routes serve the areas you want to travel to and then check the route’s timetable. Online trip planners, like, and apps are also a great option.

For trip planning help, call 1-800-660-4287. For hearing impaired call 1-650-508-6448

Step 2: Boarding the Bus

Be at the bus stop a few minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. As the bus approaches, check the electronic sign on the front or side of the bus to verify the route number and destination. Please stand back from the curb, allow the bus to come to a complete stop, allow passengers to get off the bus before you board and have your fare ready.

Step 3: Paying Your Fare

SamTrans accepts cash (exact change only), SamTrans Mobile app, paper tickets and Clipper.

SamTrans offers a variety of fare products including:

  • Single Ride
  • Day Passes
  • Monthly Passes
  • Youth and senior (Youth and Senior Clipper Cards are available)
  • Persons with disabilities, Medicare and RTC cardholders.

Using the Farebox: When inserting your fare into the farebox, use flat bills and drop coins one at a time to prevent jamming. For more tips and farebox information, click here.

Step 4: Take a Seat

The seats nearest the bus operator are designated for seniors and people with disabilities. If you choose to sit in them, be prepared to move if someone who needs them boards the bus. For safety, always remain seated or hold onto the bar or straps when the bus is moving.

Step 5: Arriving at Your Destination

Pull the yellow cord near the window or push the strip on the side of the window to signal the bus operator that you want to get off at the next bus stop. Pull the cord before your stop, allowing the operator enough time to pullover safely.

The bus will only stop at designated bus stops.

Other Things to Know

Our buses feature the latest safety and comfort advances in public transportation and are equipped with security cameras. Major intersections and transfer locations are automatically announced.

See our list of Passenger Tips.