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How to get to the San Jose airport

There are three basic routes to reach the San Jose Airport (Terminals A or B) from Santa Cruz. (Alaska and Southwest depart from Terminal B; All other airlines depart from Terminal A.) The time required (starting at the Pacific Avenue METRO Center) varies from 1 hour and 33 minutes to over two hours, depending on the choice of route and the time of day. Each route starts with a trip on the Highway 17 Express. We describe each of the three routes below, in order of preference.

  1. Via the 902 Light Rail from San Jose Diridon station: Take the Highway 17 Express to the San Jose Diridon station. Walk west through the tunnel under the tracks to VTA Light Rail station platform, where VTA ticket machines are located, from which you can get a ticket ($2 regular, $1 senior—65 or over). Take the northbound (toward Mountain View) San Jose Light Rail 902 train north 9 stops to the Metro/Airport stop. Walk across the southbound lanes of 1st Street to the bus shelter to board the westbound #10 Free Airport Flyer, which takes five minutes to reach Terminal A and another two minutes to reach Terminal B. This route works for both weekdays and weekends. The total fare from Santa Cruz is $7.00 ($4.50 if you're 62 – 64; $3.50 if you're 65 or over).

  2. Via the 901 or 902 Light Rail from 1st Street in downtown San Jose: This route works for weekdays only. Take the Highway 17 Express to downtown San Jose at 1st Street, where northbound Light Rail trains typically run every 5 to 7 minutes, alternating between the 901 and the 902. (See the photo above for what it looks like.) From there, take either northbound train to the Metro/Airport stop and follow the above route from there. The total time will be almost identical to the above route, but could be a bit faster since there are more light rail trains.

  3. Via Caltrain from the San Jose Diridon Station: This route works for both weekdays and weekends. Take the Highway 17 Express to the San Jose Diridon station, where a Caltrain ticket may be obtained from either a machine or from the lobby counter—$3.00 ($1.50 if you're 65 or over). Then board the Caltrain, and get off after only five minutes at the Santa Clara Station. From there, catch the eastbound #10 Free Airport Flyer, which takes 10 minutes to reach Terminal A and another 2 minutes to reach Terminal B. This route could take less time than either of the above routes, but it could take more time since Caltrains don't run as often as the light rail. It also costs $1 more.