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Oakland ferry service could be terminal

Submitted by on 1, May 21, 2009 – 6:00 am2 Comments

The Port of Oakland is in deep financial doo-doo. And that could spell trouble for our Alameda Oakland Ferry Service.

Apparently, the port is concerned about the condition of the ferry dock and float at Jack London Square, and they’re looking at what needs to be done to fix it and the cost. If the costs are too high, the Port wants to be able to suspend service there – a move that some members of the City Council fear could kill the entire service.

“It’s a very short jump from ‘We can’t find the money in our budget’ to killing the service. That’s the way I interpret it. The service would go,” Councilmember Frank Matarrese said.

Ferry General Manager Ernest Sanchez said that about 49 percent of the ferry’s riders come from Jack London, though they account for a higher percentage of fares. He said it would be “very difficult” for the service to continue without the Oakland riders, which Matarrese said sounded optimistic.

Sanchez said he and the Water Emergency Transportation Authority – which is slated to take over Alameda’s and Vallejo’s ferry service in 2010 – are talking with the port to see if they can work something out in order to keep the service going. (The Harbor Bay service, incidentally, is separate.)

Julie Braun, a commercial rep at the Port of Oakland who is working on this, declined to comment.

The city just okayed money to fix up the dock at the Main Street ferry terminal in part so it can handle one of the new ferry boats being put into the system.


  • DotLess says:

    We're also looking at cuts in AC Transit service: http://www.ci.alameda.ca.us/news/0905_actransit_s

    We've been told many times by the "high density at all cost" proponents that transit will magically offset any increase in the number of cars, no matter how great. Even in a perfect world where transit was always well-funded and well-run that assertion would be very questionable. In the real world, it's little more than a fantasy.

  • Simon Waddington says:

    Meanwhile they are thinking of spending a whopping $550M on BART to Oakland airport – it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Plus I’m always amazed that Alamedans pack the ferry in the morning yet there are usually very few people coming from Oakland. Its probably that it takes much longer than BART due to the Alameda stop, and the slow ride up the Estuary, however it makes me mad and sad that we could lose this precious and unique commuter route to SFO. Never mind that a couple of years ago the Port was bragging about its huge expansion and raking in hundreds of millions, now they are suddenly poor? Does that sound like poor planning to anyone else?

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