Dropping the car off at SFO

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Old Aug 26, 09, 3:26 am
#1
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Dropping the car off at SFO

I currently have a weekly rental one way dropping off at SFO. I'm a bit nervous driving in the Bay Area, but I can handle it. Any tips? Are the staff there nice? What exactly do I do when I drop off the car - just park it in an available space and go inside and check in?

In case you can't tell, I'm a total newbie to this whole car renting thing
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Old Aug 26, 09, 6:48 am
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I've been to the Bay Area twice. My tips:

The electronic toll collection system, FasTrak, is not interoperable with EZPass. I don't know where you're coming from, but if it's an East Coast car don't forget that the EZPass box won't help you in CA.

The traffic can be bad, as with any large metropolitan area.

Stay out of the HOV/Bus lane.

Make sure you know what roads to take. There are interstate and other road signs all over the place, but it can sometimes seem like a merging maze.

I didn't rent from SFO, so I couldn't comment on the customer service skills of the staff. I can tell you, however, that there will be signs all over the place saying "Rental Car Return." Coming back to SFO by bus at night for my flight home the first time, I saw some confused people driving a barcode-stickered car with AZ plates into that lot, so the signs seemed pretty clear and well-lit. I obviously wouldn't know at what time you plan to arrive.
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Old Aug 26, 09, 8:00 am
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Originally Posted by Andy1369 View Post
I currently have a weekly rental one way dropping off at SFO. I'm a bit nervous driving in the Bay Area, but I can handle it. Any tips? Are the staff there nice? What exactly do I do when I drop off the car - just park it in an available space and go inside and check in?

In case you can't tell, I'm a total newbie to this whole car renting thing
Follow the sings to the rental car return. Do not take the "normal" airport exits from 101. If you are coming from San Francisco (north) then the rental exit is before the airport exits. If you are coming from the south the rental exit is after the airport exits.

I rent from SFO very regularly and still get lost taking the wrong exit (brain in neutral) at least once a year. Thank you Mr. tom tom.
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Old Aug 26, 09, 12:13 pm
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SFO has return lanes, follow the signs to returns, and pull in behind the car in front of you in one of the three or four lanes. They will come over, check gas and mileage, you hand them the key, they hand you a receipt.

You then just head to the terminal on the train.

It's totally painless.
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Old Aug 26, 09, 12:56 pm
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Returning at SFO is pretty easy; only three things I would keep in mind:
1. Traffic on 101 can be a nightmare, so leave plenty of time;
2. If you didn't buy the "fuel option", there are a few gas stations at exits immediately above the airport, but none in the airport exits themselves. Pull off at 425A if you're heading down from San Francisco.
3. Don't know where you're coming from and when you're returning, but the Bay Bridge will be closed from the evening of September 3 to the morning of September 8. If you're in the area around then, I can only say godspeed to you, sir.
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Old Aug 26, 09, 1:02 pm
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Be sure to leave time to travel from the Rental Car Center to your terminal. The ride itself is only a few minutes but you may also have to wait depending on the time of day.
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Old Aug 28, 09, 12:12 am
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Well, the process is done. It was pretty easy, just had to follow signs to the drop-off queue. When I arrived there, it was a zoo--an organized and quite efficient zoo, however. Within minutes, my car was taken care of and I was free to go. Not bad--it looked pretty cumbersome, however, but definitely wasn't.

Thanks, everyone!
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Old Aug 30, 09, 11:26 pm
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Easy and there is gas

If you are coming from San Francisco, take the San Bruno exit (marked rental car return). If you need to gas up, turn right instead of left at the light. After refueling, you turn left and go back over the freeway, and make a right at first road (a T) and follow to the rental return.

Hertz is on the bottom floor, follow signs, return and get on the train.

Painless, only issue is time. Leave yourself time for traffic and the various waits and you will be fine
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Old Aug 30, 09, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by volleyca View Post
If you are coming from San Francisco, take the San Bruno exit (marked rental car return). If you need to gas up, turn right instead of left at the light. After refueling, you turn left and go back over the freeway, and make a right at first road (a T) and follow to the rental return.

Hertz is on the bottom floor, follow signs, return and get on the train.

Painless, only issue is time. Leave yourself time for traffic and the various waits and you will be fine
Thanks but... Check post #7, OP has already returned car and is at home.
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Old Aug 30, 09, 11:32 pm
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Originally Posted by volleyca View Post
If you are coming from San Francisco, take the San Bruno exit (marked rental car return). If you need to gas up, turn right instead of left at the light. After refueling, you turn left and go back over the freeway, and make a right at first road (a T) and follow to the rental return.
There is also a Costco gas station near the rental car center if you have membership. Found this out after filling up at a non-Costco gas station and driving the car to return it.
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