The San Francisco Transbay Terminal in San Francisco's downtown is the city's main transit center. The terminal is bound by Mission Street to the north, Howard Street to the south, Beale Street to the east, and 2nd Street to the west. The terminal serves long-distance and regional buses from San Francisco north to Marin County, east to the East Bay, and south to San Mateo County.
Originally, the Transbay Terminal was built as the San Francisco terminus for the electric commuter trains of the Southern Pacific, the Key System and the Sacramento Northern railroads that ran on the south side of the lower deck of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The Southern Pacific and Sacramento Northern trains ceased trans-bay service in 1941. The Key trains ran until April of 1958 after which the tracks were removed and replaced by pavement for use primarily by AC Transit buses.
More recently, the City and County of San Francisco, the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit), and the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (Caltrain) have proposed a plan to replace the current underutilized and outdated building. In addition to maintaining the current bus services, this proposed terminal would also include a tunnel that would extend the Caltrain commuter rail line from its current terminus at Fourth and Townsend Streets to the new Transbay Terminal.
The new Transbay Terminal building is currently scheduled to start construction in 2008 and open in 2014. Phase II of the project, the rail extension, is planned to begin in 2012 and open to rail service in 2019. Along with the new terminal, a series of commercial and residential towers are proposed on city-owned parcels around the new terminal, which would significantly alter the city's skyline while creating a whole new neighborhood.
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