(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Ferry agency may lower fares, increase service to encourage riders to return

The agency that operates the San Francisco Bay Ferry service has proposed lowering rates and increasing service as part of its effort to bounce back from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At its April 1 meeting, the Water Emergency Transportation Agency (WETA) board will vote on whether to adopt the “Pandemic Recovery Program,” which is designed to encourage people to return to the ferry in the coming months.

The plan would lower fares on all trans-bay trips, add more off-peak trips and simplify the fare structure starting in July.

The plan also calls for the start of a new route, dubbed the “Alameda Seaplane” route, starting in August.

The Alameda Seaplane route would open a new Oakland to San Francisco service and a bike-friendly short-hop route from Alameda to Oakland.

If passed, fares would return to pre-pandemic levels in July 2022 without a vote of the board.

WETA is asking for public input on the plan at its March 16 “virtual open house” at a public hearing on April 1.

More details on how to participate in the decision and learn more about the plan can be found by going to https://sanfranciscobayferry.com/recovery .

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