he San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA)’s San Francisco Bay Ferry this week launched its new weekday commute service connecting Oakland and Alameda with the newly constructed Oyster Point Ferry Terminal in South San Francisco.
More than 300 people — including U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, Assemblymember Jerry Hill, MTC Commissioner and South San Francisco City Councilmember Kevin Mullin and South San Francisco Mayor Richard Garbarino — packed the new terminal to take part in the June 4 ribbon-cutting festivities, with gloomy skies and occasional rain showers outside no match for the radiant glow of celebration inside the gleaming, glass-walled facility.
MTC delivered $29 million in Regional Measure 2 bridge toll funds to finance WETA’s purchase of new ferries. This includes $12 million to cover the lion’s share of the $17.8 million cost of two new vessels for the East Bay-South San Francisco ferry service plus $17 million for two other ferries that will provide spare vehicle capacity for various San Francisco Bay Ferry routes. WETA used another $7 million from Regional Measure 2 — which was approved by Bay Area voters in 2004 — to help pay for environmental studies, design work on the Oyster Point terminal, Clipper fare-payment equipment and berthing facilities at Pier 9 in San Francisco. MTC also is using RM 2 toll funds to provide most of the operations subsidy for the East Bay-South San Francisco ferry service.
“The June 4 maiden voyage of the East Bay to South San Francisco ferry service marks a new chapter in water transportation on San Francisco Bay,” said Nina Rannells, Executive Director of San Francisco Bay Ferry. “Our vision for the future of transportation around the Bay Area includes a robust ferry system, starting with this important step in serving the vibrant and growing employer base in South San Francisco. In addition to providing an alternative to our increasingly congested roadways, this service ensures emergency access in the event of a natural disaster.”
WETA is deploying sleek, modern vessels for the new route. Each ferry features a variety of seating options and is outfitted with free WiFi, 30 bicycle racks, and other amenities including a full range of food and beverage conessions. Each of the two vessels serving the East Bay to South San Francisco route can carry up to 149 passengers at a top speed of 25 knots, delivering passengers from one side of the bay to the other in 40 to 50 minutes. Peninsula Congestion Relief Alliance and Genentech shuttles will meet ferry arrivals at the Oyster Point terminal in South San Francisco and will deliver riders to major employer locations nearby. Free parking is available at or near all three terminals, and the state-of-the-art Oyster Point terminal features 12 bike lockers.
To introduce the new service, WETA is offering free travel for all passengers through Friday, June 8. The regular one-way adult fare for the East Bay-South San Francisco route will be $7.00, with a discounted $3.50 fare for seniors, the disabled and youths age five to 12. Fares can be paid via Clipper transit-fare payment cards as well as with cash or credit cards.
San Francisco Bay Ferry also serves the Ferry Building and Pier 39/Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, the terminals at Harbor Bay and Main Street in Alameda, and Oakland/Jack London Square, with seasonal service to AT&T Park and Angel Island. On July 1, 2012 San Francisco Bay Ferry will assume operations of the Vallejo Ferry.
Link to WETA Web site: http://sanfranciscobayferry.com/