South San Francisco ferry doubles ridership with new schedule

The South San Francisco ferry has doubled its weekday ridership over the past six months since an enhanced schedule was introduced, according to a staff report.

Average weekday ridership on the ferry, which provides service between Oakland, Alameda and South San Francisco, was 345 boardings in October — a 100 percent increase from the 172 boardings reported in April.

Staff members note the increase is in part attributable to the four-day BART strike last month, when the ferry service set its one-day ridership record of just over 800 boardings Oct. 21, the final day of the second strike. Service provided during the strike and the first BART work stoppage in July helped boost awareness of the ferry, staff said.

The South San Francisco ferry began operating in June 2012 during typical commute times with three morning and two evening departures. The shuttle — initially conceived as a destination-based service — had average daily boardings between 118 and 163 in its first six months.

Following surveys with passengers and employees in the Oyster Point area, some of whom expressed interest in having an origin terminal and providing trips to San Francisco, an expanded schedule was put in place beginning in May. Service enhancements included an additional evening departure, revised evening departure times and implementation of midday service to San Francisco two days per week.

Average daily boardings since the new service has been in effect is 307, compared with 148 boardings during the six months prior to the change.

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