SF Bay Ferry services starts heading to Richmond next month

Commuters will get a new way to cross the Bay with relatively no traffic in January. That's when San Francisco Bay Ferry expands service to Richmond at its new dock. 

The new dock at the foot of South Harbor, is still under construction, but should be ready by January 10, 2019. 

"We're gonna have six daily round trips between Richmond and downtown San Francisco. It takes 35 minutes," said SF Bay Ferry Spokesman Thomas Hall. 

With ample parking available, the marketing plan is basically comparing ferry service to the jam packed, Eastshore Freeway.

"The ferry really sells itself. It kind of goes around all that traffic that you experience there on I-80. You avoid the Bay Bridge and you come right into San Francisco after a nice, relaxing ride on the boat," said Hall.

SF Bay Ferry ridership has doubled in the last five years and is projected to quadruple in the next 20.

By 2035, not including an expanded Golden Gate Ferry system, SF Bay ferry will have 44 ferry boats carrying some 44,000 passengers a day to a wide network of terminals.

Currently, there are existing terminals at the SF Ferry Building, SF Pier 41, AT&T Park, Alameda, Oakland, Harbor Bay, South San Francisco and Vallejo.

New Terminals for Richmond and Treasure Island have been funded. There is already partial funding for terminals at Alameda's Seaplane Lagoon, Berkeley, Redwood City, Hercules and Mission Bay.

Still awaiting funding are a South Bay terminal and another in the Carquinez Strait.

Eventually, there could be smaller ferries for less populated areas or increased weekend and night service.

"We actually have a committee of our board right now looking at a small boat study, looking at the potential uses for that in the Bay Area," said Hall.

SF Bay Ferry's parent agency, is the Water Emergency Transportation Authority.

"It's right there in our name," Hall explains. "It's a core part of our mission is to offer emergency water transit in the case that it's needed due to some sort of natural disaster or other incident that requires evacuation of the movement of first responders if any roadways or bridges become disabled."