The OT Students’ Commuting Guide to San Jose State University

The OT Students’ Commuting Guide to San Jose State University
with input from the SJSU OT class of 2015 and 2016.
This document was last updated August 2015 and may be somewhat out of date. Have an update? Tell me about it in the comments!


Table of Contents

Public Transit
– BART to Fremont -> 181 bus to SJ -> 5 block walk
– Caltrain -> DASH bus
– Amtrak
– From the East Bay
– From SF / Peninsula
– From Santa Cruz
– From Monterey/Carmel
Other Campus Services
Managing Your Documents
Printing Documents on Campus
Food Around Campus

Public Transit

As a student, you can ride all Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) buses and light rails free! The light rail runs from Downtown SJ through Mountain View, Santa Clara, South San Jose, Alum Rock, and Campbell. Some stops allow free parking, but there are some that charge a daily rate. See the light rail map here. SJSU is transitioning to a clipper-card based pass system fall 2015. Find out more here. You can request a new Eco Pass here.

BART to Fremont -> 181 bus to SJ -> 5 block walk

Time: 2.25 hours each way from North Berkeley BART

Pro: Reliable time in transit. 70 min total study time on the train & bus. Lower stress than driving. Train and bus run every 15 min 6am-9pm and they are usually synchronized. VTA part of the route is free!

Con: Noisy. very long ride. Earmuffs can make the long trip more tolerable and save your hearing.

Details: Take BART to Fremont station. Exit the station on the transit side, walk to 181 VTA bus stop and board. Most of the passengers will get off at your stop, 2nd between Santa Clara and San Fernando. For the return trip, board one block away at 1st between Santa Clara and San Fernando. 181 VTA bus website, BART website

Caltrain -> DASH bus

Pro: Smooth, quiet, spacious ride

Con: Expensive, train runs every 30 minutes

Details: Discounts are available for students when you buy multiple tickets


Time: A little less than 2 hrs from Oakland (Emeryville station for me)

Pro: Reliable, low stress, comfortable, and you can study the whole time you are on the train (~1.5 hrs), as wifi is available. I never had to sit next to anyone

Con: Expensive ($11 each way, but in the end, pretty much equivalent to driving + parking). Trains are not frequent.

Details: Check out the pricing on the 10-ride pass vs. month pass. For me, it worked out to where I needed to take the train 13 days on the monthly to make it cheaper than the 10 ride pass, which didn’t happen often. When the train lets you off at Diridon, you can take DASH and #64 (and others too, but I only took those) to campus for free, a 10 minute ride. Or you can do like Dr. Cara and walk from the station to school (~25 mins)


From the East Bay

– Route 880 is usually a snarled mess Oakland to San Jose 7-9a, 4-7p. 580 is usually a bit better, 680 is a more consistent commute. Traffic is extremely variable, get directions from your phone every day!

– Carpooling can be great. If you are 2+ people you can use the carpool lane on the 880 which cuts down on the drive time significantly. Usually takes between 1:10 and 1:30 if using this (and ends up being pretty affordable if you have a few people to alternate driving/ paying for parking).

– Driving from the Tri Valley on 680 can be a nightmare but getting a fast track device and using it in the express lane is definitely worth it for morning classes. You can also use this lane free of charge if carpooling. If coming from San Ramon area leave at least 1.5hrs in advance for morning classes. Traffic is really bad all the way to Sunol and then again when you reach Fremont/Berryessa but the fast track or carpool lane will help you cut out traffic in Sunol and Fremont. You can exit Alum Rock and take Alum Rock all the way down and it turns into Santa Clara St. This cuts out the traffic that happens when you exit 10th st and instead of parking in the 7th st garage you can use the 10th st garage or the garage in flames.

From SF / Peninsula

…I always took 280 and got off on the 7th street exit.  Traffic is crazy for the 9AM classes, I suggest going early by 20 mins.  First few weeks are always crazy too, so go even earlier then.

From Santa Cruz

Commute up 17 took about an hour without heavy traffic or up to 2 hours with traffic. Other options include taking the 17 Express (beware of parking lots though– the only major one is located in Scotts Valley and not every bus stops at that station). Another option is driving to Campbell and taking the light rail from the Winchester station (rarely parking available during the day) or Bascom station (there’s almost always parking available) to avoid parking on campus and cutting several miles from the overall commute. Plus, the light rail is covered by your VTA pass, but the 17 Express is not. As of 6/24/15 the 17 Express is $10/day.

From Monterey/Carmel

Commute up 101 took 1.5-2 hours, including parking and walking to class.  The 168 bus from Gilroy is an option, and takes out some of the stress of the drive.  It is covered by your VTA pass from the school.  

Feel free to contact for more information.


If you’ll be parking on campus the same day of the week all semester, anywhere from 1-7 days, it’s cheaper and more convenient to get a semester permit. You can buy them pro-rated mid-semester too. Else, buy a daily permit in the garage you visit.

Overview: on campus parking is $8/day, Spartan Stadium parking is $4/day but then you’ve got a 15 minute bus ride to campus, on-campus semester permit is $3-5/day assuming you use all your prepaid days.

During the first 2 weeks of school, parking can take an extra 20 minutes, lots can be unexpectedly full, etc… Plan on it!

Free parking near campus is hard to come by but here are some options:

– Williams Street Park is about a half mile east of campus. You can park there for free all day.

– Parking is free on San Salvador east of 13th street after 1pm.

– For those dedicated to free parking, there are free unregulated spots on 10th and 11th but fill up by 7 or 7:30

North / 10th street garage

Location: Northeast corner of campus.

Cost: $8/day. $2/hour

Pro: Up to 5 minutes faster in and out than 7th street garage! There’s always parking on the top floor.

South / 7th street garage

Location: South side of campus

Cost: $8/day. $2/hour

Con: Slow to get into and out of. Fills up fast.

West / 4th street garage

Location: Southwest side of campus

Cost: $8/day. $2/hour

Pro: Can almost always found a spot in the mornings and at noon.  After 10AM and after 12:30ish, starts to get hard to get parking again.

Spartan Stadium/Park & Ride

Location: 7th street between Alma Ave and Humboldt St, just west of the SJSU Spartan Stadium

Pro: Half price parking, $4/day, $96/semester

Con: the free bus to campus adds at least 15 minutes each way; afternoon trips can take as long as 45 min due to driver shortages

Pro-tip: There is free street parking near Park & Ride lot along 7th St. and on Humbolt Ave (on the opposite side of the lot). Then take the free Spartan Stadium bus.

Parking Near Campus

There are several privately owned parking garages near campus. Some folks use them all the time

Japantown/Ayer Light Rail Station

Location: Ayer Avenue and N. 1st Street

Pro: Free parking, take light rail a few stops to campus

Other Campus Services

MLK Library: A seriously world-class library with lots of group study rooms (reserve study rooms here). Our OT Librarian is here to help!

Sports Center: a pretty good (free to students!) gym with weight machines, lots of inexpensive classes, treadmills, etc…

Aquatic Center: The largest public swimming pool west of the Mississippi! Free to students and never too crowded!

CASA Student Success Center – meeting rooms, groovy study spot, and rumored to have a fridge for students to use…

Clark meeting room – in the technology center, reserve once every two weeks (for more than one hour), but they provide marker boards and a large, quiet meeting room.

IRC (Instructional Resource Center) – has cameras, voice recorders, tripods, and lots of other technology available to students to check out for FREE!

Associated Students – For those of you who will be active in PTE, SOTA and maybe new clubs, Affiliated Students provides a generous donation to all Affiliated Student Groups each year. Contact your AS president (2015 – Looloo Amante) for more information.

Managing Your Documents

There are -lots- of docs to print for class. Consider keeping all your docs electronically on your laptop instead. For Powerpoint docs, you can write in the “notes” section. For PDFs, there are several good apps that let you write on them. Lee bought PDF Annotator for the PC and it works well. You can get Microsoft Office for free from the SJSU IT department. You can get electronic versions of many textbooks which can be super useful. If a textbook isn’t officially available electronically but you find a copy nonetheless, you’ll honor copyright if you buy a paper version of the textbook.

Printing Documents on Campus

You can print documents in these locations. Most on-campus printing is about $0.20/page

– Associated Students Print Shop – it’s kinda hard to find. Look here. If your class has a Student Reader, buy it here.

Associated Students Computer Services Center– upper floor of Student Union (east side of the building directly above the Transportation Solutions Center); less crowded printing stations with plenty of computers

– MLK Library on the first floor, several other printing stations on various floors

– Clark Hall Academic Technology Center. Just one building north of CCB on the first floor. Computers and printing.

– If you print out lots of materials, consider getting your own laser printer.

The SJSU Print Shop has a scanner with a sheet feeder you can use for free.

Food Around Campus

Student Union – just across the way from CCB, has several lunch spots

Whispers – Cafe with generous portions and free wifi, large area for group projects and meetings.

Ayola – Greek restaurant east of campus

Nick the Greek – by San Pedro Square

Curry Pundits – Curritos (curry burritos) served Chipotle style.

La Victoria – Burritos

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