Full Speed Ahead, Quarterly Newsletter of San Francisco Bay Ferry

This is the Fall 2019 issue of Full Speed Ahead, San Francisco Bay Ferry's quarterly newsletter. You can sign up for email notifications of new issues or pick up a copy onboard the ferry.

Published: October 4, 2019 | Download a PDF version

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Vela debuts, fleet crosses 5K seat mark

Vela of the San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet

Vela, the newest vessel in the growing San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet, debuted on the Vallejo route on August 28. Vela is the second of third ferries in the Pyxis class to enter service in the Bay Area. A third ferry in that class, Lyra, is due in early 2020.

Like Pyxis, Vela can carry up to 445 passengers at 34 knots with the lowest-emission ferry engines in the nation. Pyxis and Vela are the first and only Tier 4 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certified ferries in the country.

Vela is the sixth new ferry to enter the fleet since 2017, with two more (Lyra and the 300-seat Dorado) currently under construction. With the addition of Vela, San Francisco Bay Ferry’s 15-vessel fleet now boasts more than 5,000 total seats, the highest ever mark.

What about the seats?

We do often get asked why the seats on Pyxis and Vela are so different from the seats on Mare Island, Solano and Intintoli. Here’s the answer: the U.S. Coast Guard has newer rule limiting the amount of flammable material that can be installed on any new passenger vessel.

Each additional seat added to meet peak capacity demands adds to the fire load for a vessel. Careful calculations on density of fabrics and foams and height of seats are made to meet requirements while still providing the most comfortable transit ride in the Bay Area.

Thanks to the added capacity of Pyxis and Vela, we have greatly reduced – on most days we have eliminated – passengers left behind at terminals due to maximum occupancy being reached. We love to hear feedback from our passengers, though, so please send thoughts on the new ferries to customerservice@sanfranciscobayferry.com.

Chase Center ferry service debuts in October

Chase Center in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco is now home to world-class athletes and world-class entertainment. Now it’s easy to get to Chase Center to enjoy that world-class experience via San Francisco Bay Ferry.

Beginning in time for the start of the Golden State Warriors’ inaugural season at Chase Center, San Francisco Bay Ferry will offer ferry service between Alameda, Oakland and a temporary ferry terminal in Mission Bay just a couple of blocks from the arena. Service will be in place for all Warriors home games through the 2019-20 season and most concerts and special events through January 2020.

Ferry tickets will be on sale in the first week of October. Visit bit.ly/ChaseFerry to buy tickets and get more information.

Seasonal schedule changes go into effect Nov. 4

San Francisco Bay Ferry will switch to its winter schedule on Monday, November 4.

With the seasonal change will come somewhat reduced weekend service on the Vallejo and Alameda/Oakland routes, as well as the end of the trial for Richmond weekend service. There will also be some minor weekday schedule changes on most routes to improve on-time performance and fleet efficiency.

The winter schedule will be in effect until late April. You can see the winter schedules and all changes listed at bit.ly/SFBFWinter19.

WETA staff will be analyzing Richmond weekend trial ridership and could seek funding to bring the service back in 2020. Richmond weekday commute service, which has been very successful since launching in January 2019, will continue unchanged.

WETA, partners break ground on Seaplane Lagoon terminal

Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal Groundbreaking
Photo by A Perfect Impression Photography

WETA, the City of Alameda, the Alameda County Transportation Commission and Alameda Point Partners celebrated the start of construction at the site of the Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal on September 12.

Seaplane Lagoon is the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station Alameda and will be the third ferry terminal in the city of Alameda. WETA contributed $2 million to the construction of the terminal.

Over the next month, WETA will be engaging with Alameda ferry passengers and residents to get their feedback on how Seaplane Lagoon can best be integrated to improve Alameda ferry service overall. You can learn more at bit.ly/WETASeaplane.

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