I love San Francisco. And I knew as soon as I graduated from UC Santa Barbara I was moving back to the Bay and finding a job in the City. Thankfully I was lucky enough to find the job, but unfortunately I was not lucky enough to have enough money to live in the City. But hey, that's what parents are for!
Living at home meant I would have to make the commute up to the City daily. By car without traffic the trip is about 45-50 min. However during commuter hours it can take up to two hours. And of course, as anyone who has been to SF knows, there is absolutely no parking. But I was determined to make this work.
Lucky for me, and the rest of the Bay Area commuters, there is Caltrain. I had used the train an infinite amount of times before because of it's convenience and because its last SF station is blocks away from the ballpark. My mom had used the train when she used to work in the City, and my aunt currently used it for her job.
I did some research and found out that there are "baby bullet" trains that make limited stops, run during commute hours, and get you up to SF in about 50 minutes (at least from the Sunnyvale station). I was thrilled! Even better there were multiple bus stops right outside the station that took you to every corner of the city.
I bought a month pass (about $200 dollars for my zone, but that includes access to pretty much every form of public transit in the Bay Area expcept BART) and began to familiarize myself with the Sunnyvale station. (note to local residents there is FREE parking about a half-block away).
The conductors on the train are extremely friendly and helpful. They make the trip as pleasent as possible. Most of the commuters are just as nice and stay off teh phone because they all know we are stuck with each other.
My one complaint is that some of the trains smell. This is a small complaint that can usually be solved by switching cars but there is not always that option. Also the newer trains have fewer seats, and every single seat faces another seat, meaning you are knocking knees for the whole trip. It is the newer trains that also smell the worst. There doesn't seem to be good circulation on the bottom level of the train, the top level is slightly better but not great. I prefer taking the older trains, because they are bigger, there are single seats, more seats, and the smell is a lot less foul.
In the end though, if you have to commute this should be your only option. Its comfortable, quick, and you'll start to find that having that hour to yourself every day to listen to music, read, or whatever, is something you can't live without.