"I had a call or a note yesterday from Mayor Schroder in Martinez and we're going to sit down, have a cup of coffee and talk about Martinez. The chairman of the Transportation Committee in the Assembly, Jim Frazier from Antioch, has long been an advocate for bringing services out that way, and I think it all makes sense. But it also has to make economic and fiscal sense. Right now, you have an agency that's a bit of a stepchild. It came later than other agencies, and you know these agencies compete for the same pots of funds. We're here to advocate. We're not saying that ferry service is necessarily more important than everybody else, but we want for services to be on an even playing field with others, and we're going to fight for that." -- Jim Wunderman
"What about ferry service South of Market and in the South Bay?"
“Water transportation looks to be a really good potential alternative for the north-south commute. And companies have spoken to us about opportunities where private funding could be leveraged. And there is an interest, of course, as you move south in San Francisco to take a look at places like the 16th Street Pier for UCSF and the future Warriors arena, and then to the south, down past South San Francisco. Redwood City has funding and is really interested in having regular ferry service. We’re looking at some sites to the south of that as well. So the future is certainly a southward expansion at the same time that we continue to look for new sites to the east and to the north.” -- Jim Wunderman
"Any plan to begin ferry service to Alviso in San Jose?"
"The bay doesn't necessarily look from the bottom as it looks from the top. What we need to do is explore these opportunities and see what is realistic. Dredging would certainly be involved in a significant way in order to get there. There was an Alviso terminal in our plan back in the 1990s. There's no reason why the South Bay, which has Santa Clara County with the largest population in the region, shouldn't have water transportation service available. But we have to take into consideration the environment and the realities of the bay itself." -- Jim Wunderman
"Whatever happened to plans for ferry service from Hercules to San Francisco?"
"There's no reason why we can't begin building outwardly. This is something that can be done. We do need to have some thoughtful funding and, you know, this isn't just for ferry service. We need in this region a major investment in transportation. We've been working up in the special session of the Legislature to try to get more funding on a statewide basis, of which we'll get our share. I suspect within the next few years we'll see numerous sales tax measures on several county ballots, including Contra Costa County: I believe another regional measure, regional Measure 3, another bridge toll. WETA gets the largest portion of its funding from regional Measure 2 and that's not just for ferries, it's for a mass transportation system, of which water transportation is a critical integral part." -- Jim Wunderman
"The expense of the ferry makes it impossible for me to use."
"As BART and other transit operators have increased their fares over the years, our fare just increased for the first time this July since 2008. So, we actually have stayed steady. If you're leaving from our Oakland service, it's a $4.75 one-way trip on the ferry. If you take an express bus, it's $4.20. If you take BART, it's about $3.80. So they're fairly comparable. It's about a dollar more from BART, about 50 cents more from the bus. The perception [of expense] may be greater than the reality. In terms of what we offer in discounts, if you have a Clipper Card, which most low-income people do, they get a 25 percent discount with the Clipper Card. We have a half-fare for seniors." -- Jim Wunderman
"Is there any consideration of having ferry service between the East Bay and Marin County?"
"This question comes up quite a bit. ... Once we have a network of terminals throughout the bay, there's really no barrier to boats going to different places. The barrier today is that every boat that is operable is in service to San Francisco between the East Bay and San Francisco, and every boat is full. So we just really can't spare a boat." -- Kevin Connolly
"I agree. And beyond that, the future of water transportation isn't nor shouldn't be limited to public services. Where there is demand, we're beginning to see private services come to the fore, and maybe the possibility to have smaller boats connecting places like the Oakland estuary or Alameda with Marin County. So we're starting to see point-to-point services and on-demand services using smartphones and things like that. Those could probably be good partners with the public services offered by Golden Gate and WETA." -- Jim Wunderman
"One problem with the ferry is public transportation to the ferry system. Buses from Corte Madera and Mill Valley only go to the ferry by going up to San Rafael, and changing buses to go back to the ferry. That literally doubles the time getting to the ferry."
"The whole idea of the plan is to create an integrated system of mass transportation in the Bay Area so that people aren't stuck and can use the services that are offered. You know this isn't limited to ferry service. We have 28 separate transportation agencies in the Bay Area, I think that's the current number, that don't do a very good job of coordinating with each other, in planning with each other. On the whole, part of the role of the Bay Area Council is to try to work really hard to improve that." -- Jim Wunderman
"You know, I'm hearing all this talk and I got dollar signs in my eyes. I'm thinking about starting a new business called 'B-Uber. Boat Uber.' What would be the problem with me getting started with a boat and sending people back and forth where they need to be as a business?"
"Well, we have a member called TideLine that's operating today, so you know this isn't a new idea. And it's part of the disruptive ingenuity that makes the Bay Area so successful. And why not? There's a lot of places where a smaller boat can go today that a ferry will never be able to go because of the draft and so forth. Some combination of places where ferries can land in coordination with smaller boats provides, ultimately, a way for people to use the waterfront in ways that they haven't been able to do. If you go to Vancouver, you can see that [model] today. " -- Jim Wunderman
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