In wake of troubled service, ferry system orders three new boats for $62M

dscn5913According to the San Francisco Business Times:

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority [ed. WETA] has awarded a $62.1 million contract for three new high-speed passenger ferry boats to “address capacity issues” on its Vallejo to San Francisco route, which has been troubled in recent months by frequent mechanical breakdowns.

I just wonder if they will blow most of that money on more expensive to operate, issue prone catamarans or if they will buy something reliable and comfortable.

When Golden Gate Ferry looked to add to its fleet, the board turned their nose up at the older, reliable and more comfortable Spaulding vessels (the Sonoma, San Francisco and Sonoma) in favor of sleek catamarans they got second hand from Seattle. It turns out there was a good reason Seattle wanted to get rid of the,m They are expensive to operate and prone to mechanical issues.

Yes, the cats do solve one small problem, The Spaulding boats leave a larger wake which means they need to slow considerably before arriving at Larkspur Landing to avoid environmental issues. However, that slight delay (adding about 5-10 minutes per trip) was of little to no consequence to much larger compliment of riders these boats can carry who appreciated the sense of community that these boats tended to foster.

Let’s hope the new boats purchased put a premium on reliability and comfort, and possibly capacity, ¬†over speed. Sexy isn’t sexy if it is always broken down.