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Four transit apps to help you get around San Francisco

A photo illustration of Transit app as as seen on a smartphone on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 in the Twin Peak neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif. | Juliana Yamada/The Standard

Over the weekend, Muni made changes to 15 bus routes, including the return of the 2 Sutter and a modified 21 Hayes route. 

But the changes also caused a bit of confusion for those who rely on Google Maps or the Muni website to plan their trips. Both of those stopped showing viable bus routes over the weekend, leading to some pretty interesting route suggestions

But even before the outage, Google Maps’ trip planning was far from perfect: it doesn’t always show the best routes for Muni riders, or offer walking and biking options to connect between stations. 

Especially for newcomers, San Francisco’s transit system can be pretty confusing. So we’ve compiled a list of some of the most useful navigation apps that work great in the city. 

Exel Sabio checks his smartphone at the Civic Center BART station on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 in San Francisco, Calif. | Camille Cohen/The Standard


Open the Transit app and immediately see Muni routes the closest to you and their arrival times. Click on the routes to see departure times, a list of stops and connecting buses. But it’s the GO trip planning feature that sets Transit apart, offering multiple options that include walking, biking, and scootering between connections, plus accurate arrival times for comparison. The app uses crowdsourced information to track buses and how many passengers are currently riding. It’s also integrated with Lyft so you can find available BayWheels bikes nearby.


The official BART app has its own trip planning feature with accurate train and bus arrival times and costs that update every 15 seconds. It also lets you choose to combine walking, biking or driving with transit and save commonly used routes for later. Click on the stations list for information on which lines go where, along with descriptions of accessible routes, bathrooms and bike and car parking at the station. 

A photo illustration of transit applications including Muni Mobile, Transit, Citymapper, Clipper and NextBus as seen on a smartphone at the 24th Street Mission BART station on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 in San Francisco, Calif. | Camille Cohen/The Standard


CityMapper’s route planning is the most customizable, with the option to tell the app your specific mobility preferences. That could include prioritizing routes with the fewest transfers, or the cheapest routes. What sets CityMapper apart is a feature that lets walkers and bikers choose routes that prioritize certain types of streets, like “quiet” streets to maximize safety. The app is also able to flag current issues on any transit, and pulls in tweets from BART and Caltrain. 


Have a Clipper card? Well, the app works pretty well, too. This one is perfect for planning trips that are multimodal or take you further outside of the city. You can customize your route to take the least amount of time in transit, or to arrive the soonest. Plus, all of your payment information is located in the same place where you can manage your transit pass or load cash onto your card.