New ferry joins SF Bay’s network 

The fourth new ferry in the last two years to grace San Francisco Bay is expected to motor under the Golden Gate this month.

The 199-passenger ferry Taurus was purchased with its twin Scorpio for $18 million by the Water Emergency Transit Authority.

Scorpio entered the Bay in December. The two ferries will eventually transport commuters between South San Francisco and Oakland, a service expected to begin after infrastructure work is compete in South San Francisco by fall 2011.

In the meantime, the ferries will temporarily be chartered to Alameda to use in its ferry service between Alameda, Oakland, San Francisco and Tiburon. Alameda has also leased ferries Gemini and Pisces, which entered the Bay in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
All four vessels were purchased with tolls from the Bay Bridge as an effort to expand the Bay’s ferry network.

The new service to South San Francisco was initially planned to include service to San Francisco, but that leg was axed, in part because BART and Caltrain duplicate that route, explained WETA operations manager Keith Stahnke.

Approximately 600 people a day are expected to use the Peninsula-Oakland service at first, and that figure should expand to 1,000 a day, WETA planning manager John Sindzinski said.

Stahnke acknowledged that figure isn’t particularly sizable in a region where approximately 270,000 cross the Bay Bridge every day and more than 100,000 take BART daily, but he said it was part of a broader solution.

“The ferries aren’t the only solution and aren’t a huge solution, but they’re an incremental solution to getting traffic off our roads,” he said. “I’m not sure what adding a lane of freeway per mile is, but this is economical in comparison.”

 

Building a system

The Water Emergency Transit Authority purchased the ferries with Bay Bridge toll money.

$18 million: Cost for ferries Scorpio and Taurus
$17 million: Cost for ferries Gemini and Pisces
80 percent: Cleaner running than federal standards
200 gallons: Gasoline saved a day when the Alameda service uses one of the new ferries
4 tons: Fewer emissions produced by new ferries compared to the old ones.

Source: WETA

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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