RICHMOND — Weekend ferry service that carried more than 15,000 passengers between Richmond and San Francisco this fall has come to an end — at least for now.
San Francisco Bay Ferry officials will now have to decide whether to make Saturday and Sunday trips a permanent feature of the popular new route, which spares passengers the drive down Interstate 80 and across the Bay Bridge.
Riders sick of battling weekend traffic cheered when the service began in August. The pilot project that ran through the first weekend of November was meant to test the potential market for permanent weekend service, said Thomas Hall, a spokesman for the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which operates San Francisco Bay Ferry.
“We plan to analyze ridership data and discuss plans for future Richmond weekend service with our board and funding partners in the coming months,” Hall said.
Weekday ferry service, which in January started taking commuters from the new Richmond ferry terminal at the end of Harbor Way South to San Francisco’s Ferry Building, will continue unchanged.
About 1,100 people on average boarded the Richmond ferry each weekend during its three-month run, Hall said. Fleet Week provided its busiest weekend, when the ferries carried 1,800 passengers. Each weekday sees about 800 passengers.
The Richmond ferry route is funded by a combination of rider fares and money from Contra Costa County’s Measure J sales tax. The weekend trial period was funded in part by $238,400 from the sales tax.
If the weekend ferry returns on a permanent basis, Hall said the authority’s analysts will have to determine how much of a subsidy will be needed on top of rider fares — and how that fits with the agency’s budget.
No more weekend trips for Richmond ferry to San Francisco, at least for now