Richmond ferry proposal clears another hurdle

Water Emergency Transportation Authority
The proposed site of a ferry terminal that would connect commuters to San Francisco's ferry terminal.

A plan to build a ferry terminal near Craneway Pavilion that would offer weekday service to and from San Francisco took a step forward Friday, after the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory (WCCTAC) board approved key agreements.

WCCTAC approved the use of Measure J funds for at least 10 years to fund ferry operations, as well as the Draft Richmond Ferry Project Agreement between Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA).

The project next moves on to the CCTA board for approval, and after that WETA would begin the process of procuring vessels and construction, said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, who serves as vice chair on the WCCTAC board.

“The biggest challenge ahead is finding a way to expedite WETA’s schedule for implementation of service in 2018,” Butt said Friday. “I would like to knock a couple of years off that.”

According to terms of the draft agreement, the terminal would operate three weekday ferry trips from Richmond to San Francisco in the mornings (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.), with two reverse commute trips back to Richmond during the morning commute.

For the evening commute (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), there would be four weekday ferry trips from San Francisco to Richmond, with three reverse commutes back to San Francisco.

No weekend and holiday service are included as part of the agreement, nor will there be service to San Francisco Giants games, as the AT&T Park dock is at capacity.

Adult fares would be $8.30 one-way, or $6.25 with a Clipper card. The youth and senior fare would be $4.10 and children under 5 would ride for free.

Last summer, Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay took a mock roundtrip on a ferry between Richmond and San Francisco that took about 25 minutes each direction.

On Monday, the ferry project received a bit of extra press when a photo emerged of a dock near Craneway that recently sank.