Ferry prices slashed for seniors, disabled

Ferry service between the East Bay and San Francisco could become less expensive for senior and disabled riders, but prices to AT&T Park are likely going up.

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority, a newly formed regional ferry service, is set to take over operations of cross-Bay travel from a private operator next year. As part of its new responsibility, the agency is required to comply with federal requirements for disabled and senior transit discounts.

As a result, WETA is proposing to lower such one-way fares between the East Bay and San Francisco from $3.75 to $3.10. The latter price puts WETA in the 50 percent threshold mandated by the feds. Although the agency will lose about $25,000 a year in revenue (its operating budget is $5 million), without the discount WETA would not be eligible for federal funds.

In a separate measure, however, the agency is seeking to increase its fares from the East Bay to AT&T Park by 25 cents, which would make a one-way trip cost $7.50 for adults. About 15,000 passengers a year use the special ferry service from Alameda and Oakland to the ballpark for Giants’ home games, according to WETA spokesman Leamon Abrams.

The agency said the 25-cent increase is necessary due to additional landing fees imposed on it by the Port of San Francisco.

Today, WETA’s board of directors will review the fare proposals before establishing a series of public hearings on the measures. The board is likely to vote on the proposals early next year.

If approved, the fare decrease for senior and disabled riders will take effect around Feb. 1, and the fare hike for travel to AT&T Park will be in place for the Giants’ home opener, Abrams said.

Along with overseeing operations of the existing service between the East Bay and San Francisco, WETA is working on broadly expanding the ferry network in the Bay Area, with ports in Hercules, Berkeley, Richmond and Treasure Island all slated to connect to The City.

Boating in the Bay

$6.25: Regular adult fare between Oakland or Alameda and S.F.
$3.75: Current cost of senior or disabled passenger discount fare between Alameda or Oakland and S.F.
$3.10: Proposed cost of senior or disabled discount fare
3,101: Monthly senior or disabled passengers who use ferry service
$7.25: Current adult fare between Alameda or Oakland and AT&T Park
$7.50: Proposed adult fare between Alameda or Oakland and AT&T Park
15,000: Annual passengers who use the ferry service to travel to AT&T Park

Source: WETA

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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