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Stay night in Emeryville or go from OAK to Amtrak?

Stay night in Emeryville or go from OAK to Amtrak?

Old Sep 14, 19, 4:32 am
  #1  
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Stay night in Emeryville or go from OAK to Amtrak?

I am flying into OAK from LAS to take the Amtrak California Zephyr train ride from Emeryville to Denver. My Southwest flight arrives at 7:10 a.m. in OAK. I am currently planning to take the free ride to BART from OAK and then pay for BART ride to MacArthur Station. I am hoping to catch the Hollis Emeryville Go Around bus to the Amtrak Station; if bus is not there within a few minutes, then pay the money for a cab to take me instead.

My question is whether I can make it to the 8:45 loading time for Amtrak after landing in OAK at 7:10? I would rather stay in Vegas the extra night (free room) than pay for a room in Emeryville. It appears that getting from OAK to MacArthur Station would take about a half hour or so. So that would put me at between 8 and 8:15 for getting to MacArthur. I would prefer to take the free shuttle, of course, but I have read that this Emeryville Go Around bus is not always timely. Are there usually cabs waiting outside of the MacArthur BART station? And would morning rush hour traffic make this roughly 2 mile drive plausible for me no matter which service I'd use?

For the record, I will not have any checked luggage to get at OAK or to have loaded onto Amtrak; just a carryon bag and a personal item (smaller bag).
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Old Sep 14, 19, 9:29 am
  #2  
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You have a reasonable chance of not making it. You also don't say what day of the week you'll be traveling, but you could wait up to 15 or 20 minutes for a Richmond train, then exit at MacArthur, then look for where the bus will pick you up. Weekends, the bus doesn't start until later.

Frugal as you may be (your name, nothing I gave to you), you are best getting an UBER or similar from the airport to the train station. And if your flight is delayed for any reason, you're still hosed.

So many things could go wrong that you're best spending a peaceful evening in Emeryville, California.
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Old Sep 14, 19, 5:55 pm
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Ted
 
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I would go to Emeryville the night before. There is a hotel (Hyatt I beleive) right across the footbridge from the Amtrak station in Emeryville. So all you have to do in the morning is get breakfast and stroll over the bridge to your train. Much better than the plane>BART>bus and hoping everything connects.
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Old Sep 15, 19, 4:00 am
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Thank you both for the replies.

Sorry, I meant to mention that I would be taking the train on a Thursday. I did think of a cab or Uber from the airport, but I just thought that since it would be during morning commute hours that BART would be faster, to say nothing of much cheaper. From looking at the BART schedule, if I get the 7:43 or 7:58 train at Coliseum Station, that would get me to MacArthur at either 8 or 8:15. Even paying $25 or whatever for a cab from MacArthur to the Amtrak station would be significantly cheaper than staying in Emeryville. If I couldn't get the Go Around bus, I would have no problem with a cab ride being my only expense.

I could avoid any cash outlay by using points to stay the night in Berkley and take a cab or Uber from there, I suppose. It would be either the Super 8 or Rodeway near the campus on University Drive I think.

I am aware of the hotels near the station, but they are all high end (to me, anyway). I have no points for Hyatt, Marriott, etc., and I am not in a position to pay $200 to $300 to stay there. From what I've read --I have been to San Francisco but not Oakland/Emeryville/East Bay-- the motels in Emeryville are pretty substandard and not super safe. Please correct me if I'm wrong, though.

I know this is no predictor of the future, but the Southwest flight I am/would be taking has a 100% on time record, so I am not too worried about that.

In your opinion, if I were to take a cab or Uber from OAK to the Amtrak station, would I make it, factoring in traffic? Assuming that the flight is on time, I would have about an hour and 15 minutes approximately after I deplane to make the 8:45 boarding time. From trying to map it, it appears to be about 17 miles or so.

If you both feel very strongly that I shouldn't do this, then I will get the room in Berkley and cab/Uber from there. I do value your opinions, trust me. But like my name implies, I try to do things as frugally as I can because then I can do more things. Thanks again for your input!
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Old Sep 15, 19, 10:55 am
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Ted
 
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Agreed about the non majors in Emeryville. You would be Ok with Courtyard, Hyatt, Hilton Garden.

The other option would be to fly to OAK the night before and stay by the airport. The La Quinta is Ok. They might even be able to shuttle you to BART in the morning which is adjacent to the Amtrak station at the Coliseum. If you have not bought your Amtrak ticket yet they should be able to let you add on the connection from OAC to EMY on a Capitol Corridor train (7:35am, 16 minute ride) at little or no cost. Or just get BART to MacArthur early enough, say by 7.

Assuming you want to transit the Sierras on the CZ, could you fly to Sacramento and get the train there instead?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 6:47 pm
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Ted, I did look into Sacramento just now. It would be cheaper (and easier, it appears) to go from there than OAK/Emeryville. However, I have already bought my Amtrak ticket from Emeryville. The Amtrak website is totally unhelpful regarding ticket changes. It says there are no ticket change fees but that "other fees may apply." I don't know if that includes being able to board at a later station than the booked originating station?

For the record, if I could go out of Sacramento with no fee from Amtrak, I would do what I'm wanting to do in OAK: leave LAS in the morning and board the train the same morning. The difference is that I would have about 3 hours between deplaning and boarding the train in Sacramento versus less than 2 in Oakland.

If someone knows the policy on boarding at a later station, please chime in. Otherwise I will contact Amtrak and see how this works.

Thanks again for the help!
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Old Sep 16, 19, 9:10 am
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From what I know about AMTRAK, since they went to E-Tickets you need to board at your ticketed station and have your ticket scanned or be at risk of cancellation. Might not be enforced for a short distance where they might not be able to scan everyone but Emeryville to Sac is two hours so probably too long. Probably need to get the ticket changed to originate in SAC.

Check to make sure you get on the correct bus at the Sacramento airport. There is an A loop that goes one direction and a B that goes the other. I think you want the A. The bus stop in Sacramento is about a block from the station. Then the station is about two blocks from the platform...
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Old Sep 16, 19, 12:43 pm
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Ted... Again, thanks for the input. My ticket says "Reserved ticket", so I have a feeling you're right about having to board at ticketed station. I noticed from doing a price check on Amtrak website that my ticket from Emeryville was $117 when I bought it, and if I were to buy a ticket today right now from Sacramento, it would be $116. So no upcharge there. I may go to the Amtrak station in Cleveland (45 minutes from where I live) and try to change the ticket face to face with a live person. I really hate doing things over the phone, as I am hard of hearing and any soft spoken/ accented person makes it impossible for me to converse.

I checked the Sacramento airport bus line to Downtown, and you are right, I would take the A loop. It would be great to only have to walk a couple of blocks to the platform, unlike having to fret about the 2 miles from MacArthur Station to Emeryville.

I will chime in with what I do, and also as a data point for others looking to change their ticket to a different Amtrak station for departure.

I greatly appreciate the help!
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Old Sep 16, 19, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by frugal_flyer View Post

If you both feel very strongly that I shouldn't do this, then I will get the room in Berkley and cab/Uber from there. I do value your opinions, trust me. But like my name implies, I try to do things as frugally as I can because then I can do more things. Thanks again for your input!
I cannot tell you how many times I wake up in the morning, turn on the news, and hear of BART delays or some accident that has several freeway lanes closed.

Also, can you board the train in Berkeley? It is an unmanned station, and the frequent Capitol Corridor trains stop there, but don't know if the long haul trains stop. It would be a very short ride down University Ave., to the end where the train stop.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 5:51 pm
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Eastbay1K... The long haul CZ does not stop in Berkeley, just the Capital Corridor. And as was mentioned in replies to my original post, it is doubtful I can catch it if I fly into OAK that morning and make it to Emeryville in time. It just seems like no matter how I try to configure things, the timing is off just enough to make it problematic! I have used BART to get from San Francisco to SFO, but I gave myself plenty of time. Going through OAK as was my original plan, I do not have the option to just leave earlier unless I spend the night.

Sooo...I am a die hard Vegas junkie, but I am going to take the gamble out of this I think. As long as Amtrak will let me disembark from Sacramento at no/minimal cost, I think I will do that. The main thing I want to see without question is the Sierras, and I don't need to be on the Emeryville-Sacramento leg for that. I really don't want any downtime (read: night before hotel just to sleep and not do anything else) so flying into Sacramento the morning of lets me avoid the useless hotel night that I would have to pay for, and gives me the extra time to get to the Amtrak station. Even if the flight is delayed 90 minutes, I would still make it, so that is comforting. It would also give me a few minutes to get some water/soda at a convenience store to take for the 30-some hour ride.

Oh, and as a bonus, the flight to SMF would be about $30 cheaper, too. LOL

Do you guys think this is an acceptable compromise that is doable? Is there anything I would be truly missing by not taking the Emeryville-Sacramento leg? Thank you again for your time and input!
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