SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — In a hope to rebuild ridership as San Francisco offices reopen after being shuttered for a year, San Francisco Bay Ferry officials are considering a one-year reduction in fares.

Water Emergency Transportation Authority oversees the ferries which have been forced to reduce service during the yearlong COVID-19 pandemic.

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When the system is at full strength, it runs ferries from Oakland, San Francisco, Alameda, South San Francisco, Vallejo and Richmond.

The WETA Board of Directors will consider approving the final Pandemic Recovery Program at its April 1 meeting. Changes would take effect in July 2021.

Among these proposed changes for San Francisco Bay Ferry are:

  • Lower fares on all transbay routes for one year
  • Increased off-peak service to expand access to the ferry
  • Streamlined fare structures and payment options

“Making San Francisco Bay Ferry service more competitive in terms of price and convenience is critical to ensuring its survival and relevance as the Bay Area recovers from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Jim Wunderman, Chair of the WETA Board of Directors. “This proposal is an aggressive reimagining of what our near-term ferry service can be, and we look forward to hearing feedback from our former, current and future passengers.”

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The proposed lower fares are temporary and would be in effect for one year beginning in July 2021 as a promotion to spur ridership. During that year, WETA will closely monitor ridership data and will use it to evaluate options for the system’s longer term fare structure.

If no new action is taken, WETA’s fares will revert to pre-pandemic levels. The proposed fare reductions range from seven to 20 percent off of current fares depending on route.

Currently, a one way ticket between Oakland or Alameda to and from San Francisco is $7.20 without a Clipper Card or $5.40 with the card.

As for the schedule, officials said they would enhanced service on the Vallejo and Richmond routes and resumed service on the Harbor Bay route beginning in July 2021.

Enhanced Alameda ferry service at the new Alameda Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal and direct 25-minute Oakland service to San Francisco would come online in August 2021.

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South San Francisco ferry service is slated to resume in October 2021 based on coordination with major employers near the ferry terminal in that city.