San Francisco Bay Ferry

San Francisco Bay Ferry is a public transit ferry service. that operates in the San Francisco Bay area. It is run by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA).

Routes operated by San Francisco Bay Ferry

San Francisco Bay Ferry operates 11 ferry routes.

There are six primary ferry routes, two “short hop” ferry routes and three seasonal sports routes.

Alameda & Oakland

The Alameda & Oakland ferry is a daily ferry service between the Main Street ferry terminal in Alameda, the Oakland Ferry terminal in Oakland and the San Francisco Ferry Building.

Alameda Seaplane

The Alameda Seaplane Ferry is a weekday commuter ferry service between Alameda Seaplane Lagoon ferry terminal on Alameda Island and the San Francisco Ferry Building.

Alameda Short Hop

The Alameda Short Hop Ferry is a weekday ferry service connecting Main Street Ferry Terminal in Alameda and Oakland Ferry Terminal. It connects Alameda to Oakland in the morning and Oakland to Alameda in the evening.

Chase Center – Alameda & Oakland

The Chase Center Ferry is a seasonal sports ferry service connecting the Main Street Terminal in Alameda, Oakland Ferry Terminal and Pier 48 near Chase Center. It operates for all Golden State Warriors home games and other select music and entertainment events at Chase Center.

Harbor Bay

The Harbor Bay Ferry is a weekday commuter ferry service connecting Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal on Bay Farm Island in Alameda and the San Francisco Ferry Building.

Oracle Park – Alameda & Oakland

A seasonal sports ferry service connecting Main Street Ferry Terminal in Alameda, Oakland Ferry Terminal and the China Basin Ferry Terminal across from Oracle Park in San Francisco. It operates for all San Francisco Giants home games.

Oracle Park – Vallejo

A seasonal sports ferry service connecting Vallejo Ferry Terminal in Vallejo, California and the China Basin Ferry Terminal across from Oracle Park in San Francisco. It operates for all San Francisco Giants home games.

Pier 41 Short Hop

The Pier 41 Short Hop Ferry is a weekend ferry service connecting the San Francisco Ferry Building and Pier 41 at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Richmond

The Richmond Ferry is a daily ferry service connecting the Richmond Ferry Terminal in Richmond and the San Francisco Ferry Building.

South San Francisco

The South San Francisco Ferry is a weekday commuter ferry service connecting the cities of South San Francisco, Alameda and Oakland.

Vallejo

The Vallejo Ferry is a daily ferry service between Mare Island Ferry Terminal on Mare Island, Vallejo Ferry Terminal in Vallejo and the San Francisco Ferry Building.

Ferryboat roster

Present

Future

Retired

  • MV Encinal
  • MV Harbor Bay Express II
  • MV Solano
  • MV Vallejo

History of San Francisco Bay Ferry

Vallejo

In September 1986, commuter ferry service to Vallejo began. It was operated by Red & White Fleet and was not subsidized by the city in the beginning.

After losing money on the commuter ferry service, the city of Vallejo began subsidizing the service in October 1988. The following month, Regional Measure 1 passed resulting in more funding for the ferry service.

In 1989, the Loma Prieta Earthquake happened and the Bay Bridge partially collapsed. As a result, ferry service was increased since many residents could no longer commute by car due to the collapse. Three ferries were rented from the Washington State Ferries system to increase the amount of passengers that could be shuttled to downtown San Francisco.

The passing of Proposition 116 in 1990 and the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act in 1991 provided a total of $27 million in additional funding for the purchase of new vessels for the Vallejo ferry service. The MV Jet Cat Express set sail on July 1, 1994. The MV Intintoli and MV Mare Island began operations in May 1997 under a new Baylink brand name.

In 2004, the Vallejo Ferry increased service from 11 to 15 daily round trips with the addition of a new vessel, the MV Solano.

On July 1, 2012, WETA assumed ownership of Vallejo Baylink Ferry service and consolidated all ferry services under the new San Francisco Bay Ferry name.

2017 saw two expansions for the Vallejo Ferry. First, WETA increased weekday Vallejo ferry service to 14 southbound trips and 13 northbound trips. Second, they launched service to and from Mare Island.

Alameda & Oakland

Following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, resulting in the partial collapse of the Bay Bridge, emergency ferry service was enacted between Jack London Square in Oakland, Main Street Terminal in Alameda and the San Francisco Ferry Building.

However, due to the service’s popularity, the Alameda/Oakland Ferry route remained in operation after the repair and reopening of the Bay Bridge. The service was managed by the City of Alameda and operated by Red & White Fleet. Subsidies from local governments and Caltrans provided funding for the service so it could remain in operation.

In March 1992, a new ferry route was added in Alameda, the Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry. It began connecting the Harbor Bay Ferry terminal on Bay Farm Island in Alameda and the San Francisco Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco.

The popularity of these ferry services is what directly led to the creation of WETA in 2007.

In May 2011, WETA assumed ownership of the Alameda/Oakland Ferry service. Then, in January 2012, they took ownership of the Harbor Bay Ferry service.

On June 4th, 2012 the South San Francisco ferry route between Oakland Ferry Terminal and South San Francisco Ferry terminal launched.

The Alameda Seaplane Ferry began service on July 1, 2021. It connects the Alameda Seaplane Lagoon Ferry terminal on the southern shore of Alameda Island with the San Francisco Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco.

Richmond

San Francisco approved funding and planning for Richmond Ferry service in 2015. Weekday commuter service for this route began on January 10, 2019. However, service was suspended in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic and shelter-in-place orders for the San Francisco Bay Area. Service resumed in June 2020.

Future plans for San Francisco Bay Ferry

A new ferry landing at 16th street in Mission Bay is scheduled to open in 2024.

New ferry service from Berkeley and Redwood City to San Francisco is planned by WETA. They hope to expand service from Antioch, Hercules, Martinez and Treasure Island, as well.

With expansion comes the need for more vessels. As a result, WETA projects a total of 57 vessels to be in service by 2035. That’s 44 more vessels than are currently in operation.