Years ago, Emeryville was served by a network of trolley cars that connected to ferry terminals known as the Key System. This was discontinued in 1948 when the popularity of the automobile in tandem with our new bridge infrastructure took over and the system was ultimately “replaced” by AC Transit.
These days if you want to take the Ferry to SF, you have to backtrack to the Jack London Square Terminal. This could all change if a proposed private service from our Emeryville Marina called Prop SF takes off.
Before the Bay Bridge was erected, the Key System trains linked to a Ferry terminal at the end of the landfill spit where passengers boarded ferries to SF (Source: FoundSF.org).
Train service across the Bay Bridge ran from 1938 to 1958 when the lower deck was converted for auto traffic (Source: BayBridgeInfo.org).
Currently, Emeryville makes do with our Emery Go-Round and the AC Transit TransBay service. Emeryville is surrounded by highways making access to them convenient … but we’re also surrounded by the Bay and it’s an untapped resource for easing the congestion on our taxed highway infrastructure and BART system. Taking the ferry offers an appealing alternative to being in a cramped BART car or bumper-to-bumper traffic. The beautiful ride across our picturesque bay is a tranquil alternative to beginning or ending one’s work day.
KTVU correspondent Ken Wayne recently profiled what the station called a “Transportation Revolution on the Bay” in a recent news segment. Operator and East Bay resident James Jaber is looking to disrupt the public system that has been slow to react to the public demand for expansion. “We’ve all tried to figure out why there aren’t more ferry routes and it’s unfortunate for the area at large but it’s also created the opportunity for Prop,” he tells Wayne.
Prop SF is already operating a private charter exclusively for a large anonymous tech company, but is looking to expand this service to the public. Prop SF’s more nimble 36-passenger Catamarans are capable of operating out of smaller marinas like Emeryville’s.
Would this be a more appealing view than a bumper or fellow BART passenger’s armpit?
One-way trips to SF would typically be 10-13 minutes and cost $10. Their early plans are to run three morning & evening runs that would take passengers near SF’s Ferry building and eventually all the way to Redwood City. Prop SF is hoping to launch this Summer and are also working on a way to make reservations through a mobile app.
The demand might eventually necessitate a better connection with our Emery Go-Round Watergate Express line that currently bypasses other parts of our city (or even speed up the proposed EBOT streetcar plan).
Expanded ferry service in the works for San Francisco Bay
One thing everyone can agree on in the Bay Area is that the traffic is horrible. Some new figures back that up.
92-million cars a year cross the Bay Bridge, up 3 percent in the last five years. 40 million cross the Golden Gate, up 4 percent.125 million riders a year take BART; up 25 percent in that same time period.
But there’s a place where there’s almost no traffic: on the San Francisco Bay.
The problem is that the few ferry boats that now operate on The Bay are packed.
Kevin Connolly is the manager of planning and development for the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, or WETA, which overseas ferry service between San Francisco and Vallejo, Oakland and Alameda.
“We’re carrying 400 people on a trip and we’re leaving people behind,” he tells KTVU.
Read More on KTVU.com →