With BART, bridges and highways jammed, ferries’ popularity swells in Bay Area

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

As recently as 10 years ago, ferries were still a novelty in the region — old-fashioned, diesel-belching beasts that drew tourists, but didn’t serve many weekday commuters. That’s all changed as BART chokes with standing-room crowds and more people seek alternatives to perpetually snarled freeways. The Bay Area is now the third biggest market for ferries in the country behind Seattle and New York City. It seems the future of mass transit includes more of the ambling boats of the past…

“For five years, we’ve had year-over-year growth, and now we’re maxed out,” said Priya Clemens, spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, which oversees the Larkspur ferry…

The downside is crowding, which creates a quandary for Golden Gate Ferry, the boat-operating arm of the bridge district.

Next year, Golden Gate may increase the number of daily trips out of Larkspur, which now stands at 42. The proposed service boost may become more urgent next year because it coincides with a planned extension of the North Bay SMART train to a new stop in Larkspur. Once that stop opens, it will likely send more commuters flocking to the Larkspur ferry… (more)

 

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