RICHMOND, Calif. (KTVU) - Commuter ferry service from Richmond to San Francisco starts on Thursday, the first boat launched just after 6 a.m.
The ferry will take people to the Ferry Building, which is about a 35-minute trip across the bay.
The service will provide four runs in the morning and four in the evening.
This gives commuters who work in The City another option to get back and forth and avoid sitting in gridlock traffic.
"It's a shorter commute," said Zipporah Gilles of Hercules, who was on the debut ride. "A two-hour drive compared to 35 minutes on the ferry. I'm very, very excited."
Beth Siti said that she lives in Point Richmond and that taking BART and Muni to San Francisco is a long trip. Taking the ferry, she said, is a piece of cake. "We live in paradise, it's nice to see it on the water."
Easing gridlock on the roads could be helpful in a disaster, officials said. If there's an earthquake, for example, that impacts bridges, ferries can be used to shuttle people back and forth - and help with evacuations and recovery efforts, officials said.
"”It’s a perfect market for it. The community is really excited. Richmond has more coastline than any city in the Bay Area," said San Francisco Bay Ferry spokesman Thomas Hall.
The Water Emergency Transportation Authority already runs ferries from Oakland, Alameda, Vallejo, and South San Francisco.
A ticket is $9 or a discounted rate of $6.75 with a Clipper Card.
There’s free parking in the adjacent lot on a first-come, first-serve basis, as well as snacks and WiFi on board.