Everything You Need to Know About Proposed Ferry Fare and Service Changes

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Ferries on the San Francisco Bay

Guided by its 13 core principles to rebuild ferry service and ridership during the Bay Area’s pandemic recovery, WETA is considering major San Francisco Bay Ferry fare and service changes.

UPDATE: The Pandemic Recovery Program was unanimously approved by the WETA Board of Directors on April 1, 2021. More details to come.

The WETA Board of Directors is anticipated to consider these changes at its April 1, 2021 meeting. WETA is seeking feedback from passengers and the public to help inform this decision. Below you can find details on the proposed changes, as well as information on submitting comments and questions.
In short, the proposed Pandemic Recovery Program:

  • Lowers fares across all transbay routes for a period of one year
  • Adds more off-peak trips to expand service options
  • Simplifies the fare structure and fare payment options

As proposed, the changes would go into effect beginning in July 2021.

Learn more about the proposed Pandemic Recovery Program below. You can also read the staff memo presented to the WETA Board on March 4, 2021. Here's our notice of public outreach and public hearing on the proposed changes.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (March 22, 2021)

Sharing Your Comments

Virtual Open House

WETA held a virtual open house on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 7 p.m. to provide an overview of the proposed changes, receive feedback from the public and answer questions. You can review a recording of the main presentation on the San Francisco Bay Ferry YouTube page.

Submitting Feedback

We encourage you to send your input by email to recovery@sanfranciscobayferry.com or by letter to San Francisco Bay Ferry, Pier 9, Suite #111, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111. All comments or questions should be submitted by March 25, 2021, to ensure that your input is considered.

Answers to frequent questions will be posted on this page on March 22, 2021.

Public Hearing

On April 1, 2021, at 1:30 p.m., a Public Hearing will be held to receive public comments and for consideration of approval of the proposed Pandemic Recovery Program by the WETA Board of Directors. The hearing will be held virtually and open to public participation. A link to view and participate in the hearing will be posted at https://weta.sanfranciscobayferry.com/next-board-meeting no less than 72 hours prior to the hearing.

Upon request, WETA will provide written materials in appropriate alternative formats to individuals with disabilities.  In addition, WETA will arrange for disability-related modifications or accommodations including auxiliary aids or services to enable individuals with disabilities to participate in public meetings. Please send an email with your request to contactus@watertransit.org or by telephone at (415) 291-3377 as soon as possible and no later than 5 days prior to the meeting and we will work to accommodate access to the meeting.

Proposed Fare Changes

WETA is proposing to suspend its current fare structure and decrease fares across all transbay routes for the 2021-22 fiscal year to appeal to a broader Bay Area travel market. The new proposed temporary fares are provided in this table.

  Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Short Hops
Clipper/Hopthru $4.50 $6.75 $9.00 $2.25
Discount Clipper/Hopthru* $2.25 $3.25 $4.50 $1.00
Paper Ticket $5.75 $8.50 $11.25 $2.75
Discount Paper Ticket^ $2.75 $4.25 $5.50 $1.25
Children under 5 FREE FREE FREE FREE
* Discount Clipper includes Clipper START, RTC Clipper, Senior Clipper and Youth Clipper. For Hopthru, use the discount paper ticket categories and verification methods listed below.
^ Discount paper tickets can be used by those 65 or older, 17 or younger or those with Medicare cards or DMV disabled parking placards.
Zone 1 Alameda/Oakland | Alameda Seaplane | Harbor Bay | Richmond
Zone 2 South San Francisco
Zone 3 Vallejo
Short Hops Alameda Short Hop | Mare Island Short Hop

Comparisons of the current adult Clipper fare and the proposed adult Clipper fare are provided in this table.

  Current Fare
(Clipper Adult)
Proposed Fare
(Clipper Adult)
Alameda/Oakland $5.40 $4.50
Harbor Bay $5.60 $4.50
Richmond $7.00 $4.50
South San Francisco $8.10 $6.75
Vallejo $11.30 $9.00
Short Hops $1.70 $2.25

This document includes comparison tables for every fare type and route.

Additional Proposed Changes

In addition to lowering the fares on transbay routes, the proposed changes would:

  • Align fares to bring consistency across services
  • Align the Short Hop fare with local bus fares
  • Replace the Vallejo monthly pass with a lowered proposed Clipper fare, providing more flexibility to regular commuters
  • Recalculate discount programs (youth, senior, disabled and Clipper START) to be based off the regular Clipper fare instead of the paper ticket fare, providing additional savings to eligible passengers
  • Offer discount on youth, senior, and disabled programs for paper ticket fares
  • Align Hopthru mobile ticket fares to Clipper fares

As proposed, these new fares would be in place from July 1, 2021 until June 30, 2022. If no action is taken by the WETA Board of Directors before June 30, 2022, fares would revert to current levels and options.

See the full proposed fare tables. Read the staff memo describing the proposed changes.

Proposed Service Changes

WETA dramatically reduced San Francisco Bay Ferry service levels in March 2020 in the wake of Bay Area shelter-in-place orders related to the COVID-19 crisis. Due to continued lack of transportation demand throughout 2020 and early 2021, WETA has made few enhancements to that reduced service schedule.

In this Pandemic Recovery Program, WETA is proposing to phase in robust ferry service on most routes beginning in July 2021 while adding additional midday and late evening departures to meet the changing needs of local commuters. Enhanced service levels in some corridors and additional off-peak departures will support the needs of Bay Area travelers who may be travelling outside of the traditional peak commute period.

This table describes proposed weekday service level options currently being considered.

The baseline for comparison is the service level in place in February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 service reduction. Note that these tables provide a summary of proposed service levels. Detailed schedules will be developed after input from ferry riders and the general public.  Final schedules will be released to the public in April. While WETA is striving to offer attractive service throughout the system, there is still a need to conserve resources by limiting service levels to the anticipated level of demand.

Route Time Window Pre-Pandemic Now Proposed
Alameda* Peak 12 5 10-13
Midday 7 2 9-12
Late Evening 1 0 3-5
Harbor Bay Peak 9 0 6-7
Midday 0 0 3-4
Late Evening 0 0 0
Oakland^ Peak 12 5 8-10
Midday 7 2 7-8
Late Evening 1 0 1-2
Richmond Peak 8 5 9-10
Midday 0 0 3-4
Late Evening 0 0 1-2
South San Francisco Peak 6 0 4-6
Midday 0 0 0
Late Evening 0 0 0
Vallejo Peak 10 7 6-7
Midday 5 4 4-6
Late Evening 1 0 1-2
* The Alameda service information represents departure counts on the Alameda/Oakland route in the pre-pandemic and current periods, and represents proposed departure counts from Alameda Seaplane and Main Street Alameda once the Alameda Seaplane route launches.

^ The Oakland service information represents departure counts on the Alameda/Oakland route in the pre-pandemic and current periods and represents proposed departure counts serving Oakland after the Seaplane Shift takes place.
Peak: Before 9 a.m. and between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Midday: After 9 a.m. but before 4 p.m.
Late Evening: After 7 p.m.

As proposed, service enhancements would take effect on the Vallejo and Richmond routes in July 2021. The Harbor Bay route would also resume service in July 2021. The South San Francisco route is proposed to resume service in October 2021.

Seaplane Shift

The Seaplane Shift is a restructuring of San Francisco Bay Ferry’s Alameda and Oakland services approved by the WETA Board of Directors in 2019. The Alameda Seaplane route was scheduled to launch in August 2020; however, this launch was delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The launch of the Alameda Seaplane route is the trigger for the currently Alameda/Oakland route to flip priority and become the Oakland & Alameda route, providing direct 25-minute commute service to Downtown San Francisco for Oakland commuters while maintaining off-peak service for Alameda ferry riders.

The Alameda Seaplane route is proposed to launch at the service levels listed in the table above in August 2021. At that point the Seaplane Shift would take place, offering the listed departure count for Oakland commuters. The Seaplane Shift would also spark the launch of the Alameda Short Hop route providing service between the Main Street Alameda Ferry Terminal and Oakland as indicated in the table.

Additional Proposed Service Changes

In addition to these service enhancements, WETA is proposing to:

  • Offer limited weekend service from Alameda, Oakland and Vallejo
  • Temporarily discontinue service to Pier 41
  • Reinstate service to Mare Island with six trips in the weekday peak commute period and select trips in the off-peak and on weekends
  • Offer special event service to Golden State Warriors games at Chase Center starting with the 2021-2022 season, provided the arena is allowed to accommodate full capacity
  • Reinstate special event service to Oracle Park once the ballpark is allowed to accommodate full capacity

See the full proposed service plan concept.