The agency that governs public ferry service in the Bay Area has kept Redwood City off the list again for possible expansion to the dismay of port and city officials.
The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority’s draft Short-Range Transit Plan fails “to accurately reflect the dynamic economic growth and demand for ferry passenger service in Redwood City and Silicon Valley,” Port of Redwood City Commission Chair Richard Claire wrote in a letter to the agency.
The agency, WETA, also did not include any action to develop ferry service in its transit plan five years ago.
“Unfortunately five years later the new draft SRTP is the same — no action for Redwood City and the South Bay. We commented five years ago that the 2011 plan was based on inaccurate assumptions and outdated information and now five years later the 2016 plan essentially repeats the same language dismissing that Redwood City is ready for ferry service now,” Claire wrote in the letter to WETA.
Both Facebook and Google use a private charter ferry service to shuttle employees to Redwood City close to the port now and both have proven successful, according to the letter.
WETA’s 20-year strategic plan also does not include Redwood City.
It operates the San Francisco Bay Ferry and shuttles 2 million passengers a year from Alameda, Oakland, San Francisco, South San Francisco and Vallejo.
It works with cities to establish new ferry routes where the proposed route reduces traffic congestion in the transit corridor, is cost-effective and financially viable.
Over the next 10 years, WETA will open two maintenance facilities, expand the terminal facilities in downtown San Francisco and open new terminals in Richmond and Treasure Island.
Prop SF, a private company, shuttles about 35 passengers at a time to Redwood City now and wants to start a route from South San Francisco to Redwood City. It is in talks with the Port of Redwood City to bring its service there eventually.
WETA, however, has 300-passenger ferries.
“We’ve been interested in ferry service being developed for a number of years,” Port of Redwood City Executive Director Michael Giari said Wednesday.
Giari wants to know why there are no long-term plans to bring public ferry service to Redwood City.
The agency should look again at ridership projections because of the increased activity around the port, Giari said.
“Maybe there isn’t a market for a 300-passenger ferry but maybe for a 100-passenger ferry,” Giari said.
The agency’s ridership forecasts are out of date, he said.
Ferry service could bring traffic relief to the Peninsula, Redwood City Vice Mayor Ian Bain said.
“I would like to see WETA reconsider Redwood City as part of its Short-Range Transit Plan for all the reasons outlined in the letter. There are tremendous opportunities for public/private partnerships within the next 10 years that can help fund the service in this area and alleviate some of the congestion on our roads,” Bain wrote in an email.
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