San Francisco is closer than ever with new routes on SF Bay Ferry

The new direct service from Oakland to San Francisco makes the trip in just 25 minutes. Credit: WETA

This story is brought to you by the San Francisco Bay Ferry.

After the COVID-19 shutdown, the San Francisco Bay ferry is back and service is better than ever. With lower fares, more weekday departures, extensive weekend service, new non-stop service between Oakland and downtown San Francisco, and the same comfort and views passengers love, the San Francisco Bay ferry is the best way to cross the bay.

WETA, the agency that provides the San Francisco Bay ferry service, has invested heavily in adding ferry capacity to Oakland and Alameda. The makeover Oakland and Alameda Ferry Route connects Jack London Square to Oakland, Main Street Alameda and downtown San Francisco (at the Ferry Building) seven days a week.

Direct rides in SF

What’s new is that during the weekday peak period, Oakland cyclists now have a direct 25-minute ride to downtown San Francisco. Before the pandemic, this route stopped at Alameda before heading into the city. Now it crosses the bay directly, saving runners 15 minutes. This is a huge improvement for Oakland commuters and provides another great transportation option that doesn’t get stuck in traffic on the bridge.

Alameda commuters are also benefiting, thanks to the new Alameda Seaplane Ferry Route connecting the west end of Alameda to downtown San Francisco on weekdays. This route offers a 20-minute direct service between the two terminals and has more space for passengers as it has been decoupled from the Oakland service. The Alameda seaplane terminal offers wonderful connections for bicycles, pedestrians and AC public transport (line 78). Getting from the island to San Francisco without a car has never been easier.

New and old routes

The ferry also offers a new transit option between Alameda and Oakland, which otherwise involves going through a tube or over a bridge. For just $ 1, passengers can take the day of the week Alameda Short Hop, a 10-minute ferry ride between Main Street Alameda and Oakland. It’s a perfect solution for Alamedans working in Oakland, especially those who cycle for the last part of their trip.

the Harbor Bay Ferry Crossing serving Bay Farm Island (the other island of Alameda) is back with new noon departures added by popular demand, and the Southern San Francisco Ferry Route connecting East Bay residents to the recently revived Oyster Point Business Park.

The San Francisco Bay Ferry is also the easiest way for East Bay fans to catch Warriors games. This special route from Oakland and Alameda docks at Pier 48 in San Francisco, just a 12-minute walk from the Chase Center. Reservations are strongly encouraged due to the popularity of Chase Center Ferry Service.

The Richmond Ferry Terminal doubles as a work of art. Credit: WETA

San Francisco Bay Ferry also made its Vallejo ferry timetables more flexible for passengers facing new and changing travel needs, while adding more departures to the Richmond ferry crossing.

Lower fares, safer journeys

Along with these new and restored routes and expanded timetables, fares across the system have been reduced by up to 30% through June 2022, making the ferry a more affordable public transport option for commuters, as well as for families who wish to move.

The San Francisco Bay Ferry is the only open-top transit option and continues to apply rigorous safety protocols. Meeting social distancing and face covering requirements ensures a safer trip for all on board. The health of crew members is monitored daily and all surfaces are cleaned between trips. (Make sure you have proof of vaccination if you want to buy snacks or a drink from the bar.)

All of these service upgrades come at a time when highways and bridges in the Bay Area are experiencing a resurgence of traffic congestion to pre-pandemic levels, with all the environmental problems that this creates.

More and more people are discovering that the San Francisco Bay Ferry truly is “the best way to cross the bay”, whether for daily commutes or weekend trips. And after the experience of the past two years, it’s also “The best way back” to the things that make the Bay Area special.

The ferry passes through downtown Vallejo en route to the Vallejo ferry terminal. Credit: WETA

This story was written and paid for by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA). WETA is a regional transit agency responsible for developing, operating and expanding ferry service on the San Francisco Bay Area and coordinating the water transportation response to regional emergencies.

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