Salesforce Transit Center ready for public debut


What was once a dreary, dark and dull Transbay Terminal bus depot at First and Mission streets has emerged as a bright, vibrant transit center, fit for the 21st century and dubbed the “Grand Central Station of the West.”

The public will finally get to see the new Salesforce Transit Center at the block party from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday but city, state and federal officials held their own celebration before the grand opening to the public.

Ching Wong/SFBay

Pedestrians pass by the 5-Fulton at the new Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, Aug 10, 2018.

It was fitting to have the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday because nearly eight years ago on August 11, 2010, officials broke ground on the $2.24 billion project.

Mohammed Nuru, chair of Transbay Joint Powers Authority and The City’s Public Works Director said:

“We have been waiting for this day for a long time.”

Nuru was appointed by the late Mayor Ed Lee to the authority, which oversees the project’s planning, design, construction and budget.

The new transit center is four levels with two levels below ground for future use of Caltrain and even high-speed rail.

Muni buses had already begun using the transit center on the street level back in June when the 5-Fulton returned to the center. Since then, the 5R-Fulton, 7-Haight/Noriega, 38-Geary and 38R-Geary have all returned to center on the ground level. Paratransit is also stationed on the same level.

San Francisco’s Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said the new center was a “game changer” for The City and Bay Area region:

“The ability for people to get in and out of our downtown, particularly for those coming from the East Bay, will significantly better and more pleasant experience.”

On Sunday, the 6-Parnassus/Haight and 25-Treasure Island will also return to service at the center.

AC Transit buses will occupy the third level bus deck where buses will have a special bus bridge ramp coming off the Bay Bridge and into the bus deck of the transit center.

Also occupying the third level bus deck is WestCAT, Greyhound, Amtrak and Muni’s 25-Treasure Island bus line.

Nuru said:

“Salesforce Transit Center is a true regional partnership designed to help Bay Area commuters get to and from their destinations.”

Ching Wong/SFBay

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, second from left, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, second from right, attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the new Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, Aug 10, 2018.

Mayor London Breed, also a San Francisco native, recalled the old Transbay Terminal in her remarks:

“I don’t know if any of you are old enough to remember what it looked like, but it was a dark and dreary place.”

Breed added:

“It’s critical we build our transportation infrastructure not just for what we’re going to do today, but for how we’re going to grow in the future.”

Ching Wong/SFBay

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the new Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, Aug 10, 2018.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who attended the groundbreaking in 2011, spoke of the new transit hub represented in The City:

“The center does not only curb congestion and cut down commutes, it transforms how we work, how we travel, how we live.”

The center is home to buses and also a 5.4-acre rooftop park, aptly called Salesforce Park. The park features a bus fountain, which corresponds to the moving buses on the bus deck.

Bay Area artist Ned Kahn created the fountain.

Retail stores, pop-up shops, an eventual restaurant at rooftop park are all expected to make the new center more lively compared to the old Transbay Terminal.

Fitness SF, OnSite Dental, Philz Coffee and Rick Howard Bar are some of the new tenants of the center. The first permanent tenants are expected to open in mid-2019.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, who mentioned the California high-speed rail project, which is moving at snail pace, said he hopes his two-year old son would be able to someday use the system:

“It is my hope that someday gets on a train here that is like our experience getting onto BART or Caltrain, and he visits his friends in L.A. in the time it takes to visit my friend Ash Karla down in San Jose.”

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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