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A Watershed Moment for Ferries in the San Francisco Bay Area

With BART showing its age and struggling to meet growing demand, water-borne vehicles a potential panacea for transit in the San Francisco Bay Area?
April 17, 2016, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Twenty public ferries serving eight cities shuttle thousands of people across the [San Francisco Bay] every day, but there used to be many more," according to an article by Bryan Goebel. The question posed by Goebel, then, is how the amount of ferry service offered around the Bay Area might be increased to meet historical levels of service, or, for that matter, contemporary demand.

Interestingly, the biggest blow to ferry service in the bay occurred when the Bay Bridge opened in 1936, which also included a train, known as the Key System, when it first opened. In 2016, Goebel reports, "the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay ferry systems carry more than 16,000 passengers each weekday," and overwhelmed transit and freeway systems in the region might provide the reason for improved ferry service.

Evidence of the growth of ferry service in the Bay Area includes two new ferry terminals expected to open by 2022, the new operations of private ferry companies, and a 20-year draft strategic plan created by planners at the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, according to Goebel.

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Published on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 in KQED
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