Alameda and Oakland Ferry Service Set To Expand in 2020

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) Board of Directors has approved a major 2020 revamp of San Francisco Bay Ferry’s Alameda and Oakland ferry service in order to meet growing passenger demand.

The plan, which is expected to take effect in mid-2020, shifts primary commute service in Alameda to a new ferry terminal at Seaplane Lagoon while offering more direct commute ferry service between Oakland and San Francisco.

The Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal is currently under construction on the former Naval Air Station Alameda. It is on track to be completed in mid-2020. The WETA Board on Thursday approved an agreement with the City of Alameda to operate ferry service at the new terminal and endorsed staff’s recommendation to take this opportunity to revamp Alameda commute service for the benefit of commuters. The Alameda City Council approved the agreement at its Tuesday meeting.

“Alameda ferry ridership has boomed in recent years. Reorienting our Alameda commute service to use the new Seaplane Lagoon terminal will help us meet that growing demand and improve the entire ferry experience for passengers,” said Nina Rannells, WETA’s executive director. “We’re also thrilled to expand our commute service in Oakland to help ease roadway congestion and continue to build out the Bay’s ferry system.”

WETA surveyed Alameda and Oakland ferry passengers in October and found wide support for the plan. The passenger benefits from the plan include:

  • Expanded capacity on the most popular Alameda and Oakland commute runs
  • Attractive direct Oakland-San Francisco commute service
  • Improved access for Alameda commuters, especially for those who bike or walk to the ferry terminal

In the October survey, passengers said that long lines at the San Francisco terminal in the evenings and difficult terminal access with crowded parking have negative impacts on commuting by ferry.

Under the plan, the existing Main Street Alameda Ferry Terminal will continue to be used for non-commute ferry service to San Francisco (including weekends and special service to Oracle Park and Chase Center) and for the South San Francisco service.

The Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal is a centerpiece of the Alameda Point development, which will include housing and commercial space within walking distance of the terminal.

WETA will conduct a comprehensive outreach campaign beginning in early 2020 to ensure a smooth transition for passengers.