WETA, the agency that provides San Francisco Bay Ferry service, is proposing to lock in lower fares for the next five years.

In 2021, San Francisco Bay Ferry temporarily slashed its fares 30% across the system as a part of its Pandemic Recovery Program (PRP) to rebuild ridership and enhance access to the system. In the 20 months since the fare cuts, San Francisco Bay Ferry’s ridership recovery has outpaced comparable regional transit operators despite high office vacancy in Downtown San Francisco. A recent onboard survey found that 42% of current San Francisco Bay Ferry passengers did not ride the service before the pandemic.

Earlier this month, the agency released a new proposed fare program to take effect on July 1, 2023. The program locks in the fare cuts established in the PRP for the next five years and establishes small 3% annual increases on fares for regular service. These annual increases are based on historical inflation data and intended to keep pace with comparable transit operators.

This table shows San Francisco Bay Ferry fares (Clipper base rate) by route from 2020 as well as current fares and proposed fares that would take effect on July 1. San Francisco Bay Ferry proposes to preserve its 50% discounts for youth, senior, disabled or Clipper START passengers on regular service. The agency’s small surcharge on paper tickets is proposed to continue.
WETA has also proposed adjustments to its reservation-based special event fares to hit cost recovery targets. Reserved tickets connecting Oakland and Alameda to both Oracle Park and Chase Center for San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors games respectively are proposed to be increased 10% to $10.50 each way. Reserved tickets connecting Vallejo to Oracle Park for Giants games are proposed to be increased 15% to $18.25 each way. Following these one-time adjustments, under the proposal special event fares would then increase 3% annually alongside regular fares through the end of the five-year program.

Passengers and the public are encouraged to provide feedback on the proposal by emailing fareprogram@watertransit.org. A public hearing on the proposal will be held on May 4, 2023.

San Francisco Bay Ferry will make adjustments to its schedules effective Monday, April 3, 2023. Systemwide, the changes will add one additional trip on weekdays and three additional weekend trips.

The biggest changes are a new midday Richmond round trip on weekdays, a new late evening trip to Alameda Seaplane on weekdays and three new weekend trips on the Oakland & Alameda route. There are minor changes on other departures throughout the system to allow for these additions.

We wanted to share some information with our Vallejo ferry passengers on what we’re doing to ensure comfortable morning rides for everyone.

In recent months our newest vessel MV Dorado has sometimes been assigned to the 7:15 AM southbound departure, the busiest morning trip in the entire San Francisco Bay Ferry system. MV Dorado, which debuted last spring, is a great option for the Vallejo route given its superb speed (36 knots), excellent fuel efficiency and a 320-passenger capacity comparable with older North Bay vessels including MV Mare Island and MV Intintoli.

However due to MV Dorado’s expansive outdoor seating and the high ridership we’ve seen on the 7:15 AM departure out of Vallejo, this vessel isn’t a good option during winter months on this trip. Captain training and vessel rotation issues required MV Dorado to be in that slot for some time. Working with our contract operator Blue & Gold Fleet, San Francisco Bay Ferry has ensured that barring unforeseen circumstances MV Dorado will be assigned to other departures that are well below maximum capacity in the morning going forward. Riders on the 7:15 AM southbound trip can expect to see a 445-passenger Pyxis class vessel, MV Mare Island or MV Intintoli going forward.

Thank you for your feedback and your patience.

Welcome back to Dock-tionary, where we help ferry fans learn how to speak boat. This month, we’re breaking down the nautical terms starboard and port and why these words are used by mariners worldwide, including our ferry crews

Gangways and floats work together to provide a raised walkway area for passengers to safely walk between a docked vessel and the on-land terminal facility. The float is a floating platform on the water in which vessels dock beside and are part of every terminal in the San Francisco Bay Ferry network. Connected to the float is the gangway with joints at either end to allow the walkway to adjust with the changing tide levels while at the same time giving passengers access between the vessel, float and on-land facilities.

At some terminals with restricted space, the setup of the gangway and float can vary depending on topography of the body of water. For example, the Richmond terminal’s float and gangway is constructed in a way where only one vessel is regularly allowed to dock at a time. This is different from other terminals like the Alameda Seaplane Lagoon terminal or Oakland terminal, where two vessels can dock simultaneously at the same float.

While the set-up of each terminal may vary, there will always be these two structural elements to facilitate safe passenger operations. The next time you are boarding or alighting the ferry, see if you can differentiate the float and gangway sections of your terminal.

What is your favorite ferry memory?
My mom passed away in 2019. I received the call while I was at work. I took the ferry back home. Deckhand Anthony saw that I was upset and asked me if I was okay. I told him I just lost my mom. When we docked in Vallejo he asked me if I was okay to drive home. I appreciated that he cared about my well being. 

How would you describe the atmosphere on the ferry?
A beautiful boat ride.

What is your favorite ferry amenity?
The bar! The bartenders are amazing.

Describe San Francisco Bay Ferry in one word.