New South SF Ferry Failing To Lure Commuters, Cover Costs

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A 9-month-old ferry line that services South San Francisco from Oakland and Alameda is attracting only a fraction of the riders necessary to cover operational costs.

The run, launched last June to service companies in the area, gets an annual $2.3 million subsidy from bridge tolls. To date, the line has generated only $145,000 in tolls from riders.

One complaint has been that there aren’t enough boats at the right time to suit commuters. Currently there are only departures at 4:15 and 5:45.

Now the Water Emergency Transportation Authority is considering adding a third afternoon departure from South San Francisco – at a cost of $230,000 annually. Transit officials my also add twice a week service to the San Francisco Ferry Building from the South SF terminal.

Transit officials say it takes a while for this type of service to catch on. The system must recoup at least 40 percent of its operational costs in the next two years in order to retain the bridge toll subsidy in the future.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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