Phil Matier: Huge Subsidies Offset Cost For New South SF Ferry

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – It turns out that the much-heralded new ferry line between South San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda is being subsidized – heavily – by the public.

The numbers have been crunched, revealing that for every $14 round trip ticket sold, the public has – or will – kick in nearly $100. In all, the subsidies for the new ferry service total roughly $94 million over a 20 year period.

Among the publicly-financed elements of the transit service: the Oyster Point Ferry Terminal, paid for largely with San Mateo County sales tax funds; Bay Area bridge tolls, which funded $16 million for two 140-seat ferries and a $2.6 million annual operating subsidy.

KCBS, CBS 5 and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Reports:

The ferry service, which debuted earlier this month, is expected to transport 100,000 riders annually.

By contrast, the Water Emergency Transportation Authority expects a subsidy of just $8 per ride on the Alameda/Oakland to San Francisco ferry. The public subsidy for Golden Gate ferry service is about $15 per ride.

Representatives of the new South City ferry say they are banking on growing ridership, and consider the new service an investment in the region’s emergency preparedness – not to mention congestion relief efforts.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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