San Francisco Bay Ferry

Last updated
San Francisco Bay Ferry
San Francisco Bay Ferry logo.svg
San Francisco Bay Ferry Hydrus May 2017.jpg
Hydrus departing the Ferry Building in San Francisco
Locale San Francisco Bay Area
Waterway San Francisco Bay
Transit type Passenger ferry
OwnerSan Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority
Operator Blue & Gold Fleet
Began operation2011 (consolidation of existing service)
No. of lines5 (plus 1 special)
No. of vessels13 [1]
No. of terminals9
Daily ridership8,600 (Q1 2018) [2]
Website http://sanfranciscobayferry.com/

San Francisco Bay Ferry is a public transit passenger ferry service in the San Francisco Bay, administered by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA). San Francisco Bay Ferry is a different system from Golden Gate Ferry, which provides passenger ferry service from San Francisco to Marin County.

Contents

Routes

San Francisco Bay Ferry operates five commuter ferry routes, with a sixth route temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic: [3]

Additional special service is operated to China Basin Ferry Terminal adjacent to Oracle Park for all San Francisco Giants home games. These gameday services operate on the Vallejo and Oakland/Alameda routes.

History

Emergency service

In the days and weeks following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, ferry service was hastily restored between San Francisco and the East Bay while the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge was closed for repairs. [6] The popularity of the revived ferries and the need for a robust ferry system in the event that the region's roads and tunnels become impassable in an emergency ultimately led to the creation of the San Francisco Bay Ferry system. [7] The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) is a government entity created by the California state legislature in 2007 by Senate Bill 976. [8] The organization was formerly the San Francisco Bay Water Transit Authority (WTA), which the legislature established in 1999. [9]

Vallejo

Commuter service to Vallejo began in September 1986. It operated by Red & White Fleet without subsidy, though Vallejo funded the simultaneously-opened ferry terminal. [10] The company lost money on the commuter service; in October 1988, the city began subsidizing service. The passage of Regional Measure 1 the next month provided additional funding. [10] After the 1989 earthquake, service was temporarily increased using three ferries rented from the Washington State Ferries system. The 1990 passage of Proposition 116 provided $10 million for the purchase of new vessels, with an additional $17 million from the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. [10] A new vessel (MV Jet Cat Express) and a new operator (Blue & Gold Fleet) began operations on July 1, 1994. Two high-speed catamarans (MV Intintoli and MV Mare Island) were put into service in May 1997 under a new Baylink brand. [10] The MV Solano was added in 2004, allowing an increase from 11 to 15 daily round trips. [10] This link is part of the Western Express Bicycle Route.

Consolidation and expansion

WETA has assumed ferry service previously operated by the City of Alameda and Port of Oakland. [11] The ferry lines operated under the Alameda/Oakland Ferry and Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry names. Service to the city of South San Francisco began on 4 June 2012, which also coincided with use of the new San Francisco Bay Ferry name. [12] [13] [14] WETA assumed control of Baylink service on July 1, 2012. [15] Ferry service from Vallejo to San Francisco dates back to 1986. Approximately half of the agency's operating funds come from Regional Measure 2, a $1 toll increase on Bay Area bridges approved in 2004, and the other half comes from fares. [16] [17] Since 2011, the private Blue & Gold Fleet has been under contract to operate the ferries on behalf of WETA. [18]

On April 29, 2013, a third evening trip from South San Francisco to Oakland was added, as well as a midday leisure-oriented round trip on Wednesdays and Fridays between South San Francisco and Pier 41 via the Ferry Building. [19] San Francisco service was expanded to Monday through Friday on November 3, 2014, with the Pier 41 segment dropped. [20] The single reverse commute trip on the South San Francisco–Oakland/Alameda route was dropped on May 4, 2015, leaving only three peak-direction round trips. [21] South San Francisco–Ferry Building service ended on July 2, 2018. [22]

Seasonal direct service between Oakland/Alameda and Angel Island ended on October 26, 2014; timed transfers at Pier 41 for Blue & Gold Fleet service to Angel Island were introduced beginning with the 2015 summer season. [23] [24] On January 2, 2017, WETA increased weekday Vallejo service to 14 southbound and 13 northbound trips, with route 200 bus service discontinued. [25] SolTrans began operating a single northbound route 82 bus trip via the Ferry Building in the late evening, intended for passengers who miss the last ferry to Vallejo. [26] On March 6, 2017, service to Mare Island began as a short extension of Vallejo service. Initially, seven weekday round trips and four weekend round trips were extended to Mare Island. [27]

Weekday commuter service from a remodeled Richmond Ferry Terminal, in Richmond's Marina Bay District, to San Francisco was approved for funding and planning in 2015 to become operational by 2018. [28] [29] Service commenced on January 10, 2019 with commute and limited reverse commute services. [30]

On January 7, 2019, WETA began a three-month pilot of weekday peak-hour service between South San Francisco and Harbor Bay. [31] The single round trip runs to Harbor Bay in the morning and to South San Francisco in the evening. The pilot program also allowed the addition of a morning Harbor Bay-to-San Francisco trip. [32]

Future expansion

Richmond Ferry Terminal opened in 2019 Ferryterminalrichwboat2019.jpg
Richmond Ferry Terminal opened in 2019

An additional terminal in Mission Bay intended to serve events at Chase Center is expected to open in 2021 at the foot of 16th Street, [33] [34] with an interim terminal located at Pier 48½. [35] Ferries will serve these terminals from South San Francisco and Oakland/Alameda.

WETA plans to establish new service from Berkeley and Redwood City to San Francisco. Its long-term vision also includes service from San Francisco to Antioch, Hercules, Martinez, and Treasure Island. [36] WETA projects the fleet to increase from 13 to 57 vessels by 2035 to accommodate these new services plus frequency increases on existing routes. [37]

Annual ridership

FY*Alameda/OaklandHarbor BayRichmondSouth San FranciscoVallejoSystemwide
2006–07443,000130,000897,0001,470,000
2007–08459,000145,000848,0001,452,000−1.2%
2008–09400,000143,000690,0001,233,000−15.1%
2009–10421,000147,000682,0001,250,000+1.4%
2010–11455,130154,000697,0001,306,000+4.5%
2011–12545,393177,1595,141668,7701,391,322+6.5%
2012–13606,960203,13140,505713,3001,563,896+12.4%
2013–14821,633246,69584,098826,4451,978,871+26.5%
2014–15911,473266,304107,389858,6652,143,831+8.3%
2015–161,149,085311,313125,946959,9392,546,283+18.8%
2016–171,183,188321,289136,3201,000,7732,641,570+3.7%
2017–181,311,041332,283144,7351,056,3422,844,401+7.7%
2018–191,384,300355,71384,576142,7491,081,6653,048,733+7.18%
Sources: [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46]

Fleet

As of late 2018, the WETA's fleet consists of thirteen vessels, with three under construction at Dakota Creek Industries and expected to enter service in 2019. [37] [ needs update ] Long term plans call for an additional 44 ferries to enter the fleet by 2035. [37]

Related Research Articles

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Blue & Gold Fleet

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Pier 41

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Vallejo Station

Vallejo Station is an inter-modal transit station in Vallejo, California. It is located at the western part of Central Vallejo and includes the Vallejo Ferry Terminal, a multi-story parking garage/paseo, and the Vallejo Transit Center bus station.

Hercules station

Hercules station is a proposed intermodal infill train station and ferry terminal in Hercules, California in Contra Costa County. It is to be the first direct Amtrak-to-ferry transit hub in the San Francisco Bay Area and will be constructed in between the existing Richmond and Martinez stations. By July 2018, three of the station's six construction phases had been complete, including street at Bay Trail approaches.

SolTrans

SolTrans, officially Solano County Transit, is a Joint Powers Authority that provides public transportation service to the southern Solano County cities of Vallejo and Benicia. SolTrans was established in 2011 and is the result of a merger between Vallejo Transit and Benicia Breeze.

South San Francisco Ferry Terminal

The South San Francisco Ferry Terminal is the only operating ferry terminal in San Mateo County, California. Boats are operated by San Francisco Bay Ferry and connect the city of South San Francisco to the Oakland Ferry Terminal in Jack London Square as well as Alameda, California. Construction began in 2009 and ferry service started on June 4, 2012. While ferry service between San Francisco and ports to the south existed as far south as San Jose/Alviso during the 1800s, most passengers to Peninsula destinations took the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad after it was completed in 1864 as part of the transcontinental railway.

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