WETA Proposes Temporary Lower Fares and Expanded Schedules for San Francisco Bay Ferry

SAN FRANCISCO | March 5, 2021 – The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) Board of Directors on Thursday released a 1-year proposal for lower fares and expanded schedule options for San Francisco Bay Ferry as a part of its pandemic recovery efforts. The proposal reflects a set of 13 Pandemic Recovery Program Core Principles that were approved by the Board in February. The Program is designed to incentivize the return of riders to the system, to accommodate expected changes in travel patterns, and to attract a new, diversified ridership base as the region’s economy continues to reopen.

The WETA Board of Directors will consider approving the final Pandemic Recovery Program at its April 1 meeting. Changes would take effect in July 2021. Among these proposed changes for San Francisco Bay Ferry are:

  • Lower fares on all transbay routes for one year
  • Increased off-peak service to expand access to the ferry
  • Streamlined fare structures and payment options

“Making San Francisco Bay Ferry service more competitive in terms of price and convenience is critical to ensuring its survival and relevance as the Bay Area recovers from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Jim Wunderman, Chair of the WETA Board of Directors. “This proposal is an aggressive reimagining of what our near-term ferry service can be, and we look forward to hearing feedback from our former, current and future passengers.”

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16 WETA will hold a virtual open house to provide information, answer questions and receive feedback on the proposed Pandemic Recovery Program. Details on the open house are available at sanfranciscobayferry.com/recovery.

The proposed lower fares are temporary and would be in effect for one year beginning in July 2021 as a promotion to spur ridership. During that year, WETA will closely monitor ridership data and will use it to evaluate options for the system’s longer term fare structure. If no new action is taken, WETA’s fares will revert to pre-pandemic levels. The proposed fare reductions range from seven to 20 percent off of current fares, depending on route.

WETA is currently operating reduced San Francisco Bay Ferry service due to reduced demand and limited resources. The Pandemic Recovery Program proposes enhanced service on the Vallejo and Richmond routes and resumed service on the Harbor Bay route beginning in July 2021. Enhanced Alameda ferry service at the new Alameda Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal and direct 25-minute Oakland service to San Francisco would come online in August 2021. South San Francisco ferry service is slated to resume in October 2021 based on coordination with major employers near the ferry terminal in that city.

The service enhancements add additional off-peak departures to most routes to reflect changing travel patterns and provide additional flexibility for passengers.

The proposed fare tables and service plan summaries are available at sanfranciscobayferry.com/recovery.

This proposed Pandemic Recovery Program was developed based on the 13 core principles to guide recovery adopted by the WETA Board in February 2021. Those core principles reflect WETA’s intent to enhance equity and access to ferry service while making the system more competitive in the Bay Area transportation landscape.

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