SF Bay Ferry Hits All-Time Ridership Highs in July

San Francisco Bay Ferry, a service of the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), announced last month that it recorded all-time highs in ridership in the month of July, transporting a total of approximately 288,000 passengers across all of its four routes-a new record.

WETA ferries transported a total of approximately 288,000 passengers across all of its four routes in July—a new record. Photo by Joel Williams

BY BC STAFF

San Francisco Bay Ferry, a service of the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), announced last month that it recorded all-time highs in ridership in the month of July, transporting a total of approximately 288,000 passengers across all of its four routes—a new record.

 

The Alameda-Oakland and Vallejo routes both experienced record-setting ridership last month. The Alameda-Oakland service saw an eight percent increase from its previous high in July 2016, transporting more than 11,000 additional passengers. In fact, the service carried approximately 25,000 more passengers than it did in July 2013, when ferry ridership spiked amidst ongoing BART strikes.

 

Ridership on the Vallejo service in July reached an all-time high as well—with nearly 105,000 total passengers. Additionally, the South San Francisco and Harbor Bay (Alameda) routes have seen continued growth, with both surpassing ridership totals for the same time last year.  This continues a trend that has seen ferry ridership increase 78 percent since 2012.

 

“We are experiencing unprecedented growth in ferry ridership,” said Nina Rannells, executive director of WETA. “As our Bay Area population expands and traffic congestion continues to worsen, more and more people are looking for a convenient and enjoyable means of transportation and they’re turning to ferries. We recognize that this growing demand will continue and are taking steps to implement our strategic plan, which includes more boats, more terminals and more routes across the Bay.”

 

To accommodate the increased demand for ferry service, WETA established a 2016 strategic plan that outlines a vision for 44 vessels, 16 terminals, 12 routes and a 740 percent increase in peak capacity by 2035. It has begun taking significant steps to implement this vision. Earlier this year, it added the M.V. Hydrus, a $15.1 million state-of-the-art boat, and launched its newest vessel, the M.V. Cetus, in August. Additionally, new service from Richmond is planned for 2018.

       

WETA was established by the California legislature to operate an integrated regional ferry service, expand ferry service on the Bay and coordinate the water transit response to a regional emergency. Under the San Francisco Bay Ferry brand, WETA operates daily passenger ferry service to the cities of Alameda, Oakland, San Francisco, Vallejo and South San Francisco.

Ridership on the Vallejo ferry service reached an all-time high in July. Photo by Joel Williams