Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District

March 20, 2007




The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s (District) Capital Improvement Plan calls for the replacement of one of three of the Golden Gate Ferry’s original 715-passenger Spaulding vessels placed into service from Larkspur to San Francisco in 1976.

On June 23, 2006, the Board of Directors (Board) authorized staff to initiate the construction of a third high-speed ferry vessel. On January 16, 2007, the District issued a Request for Proposals for a consultant to provide project management and construction oversight for the construction of the new ferry. On February 9, 2007, three proposals were received from qualified firms.

At its March 22, 2007, meeting, the Board’s Building and Operating Committee recommended that the full Board, at their regularly scheduled 10 am meeting on March 23, 2007, authorize the hiring of Fast Ferry Management, Inc., Silverdale, WA, in an amount not to exceed $265,500, with a contingency fund in the amount of $9,500. On March 23, 2007, the full Board concurred with the Committee recommendation. The funding for the ferry construction oversight to be provided by Fast Ferry Management is included in the total project budget set at $12 million, of which 80% is coming federal grant funding and District funds covering the remaining 20%.

The proposals were evaluated based on the firm’s qualifications and experience, project understanding and approach, the firm’s capabilities, and price proposal. The evaluation committee determined Fast Ferry Management, Inc. to be the highest ranked proposer and their price proposal was also the lowest of the three proposals.

Over the past fifteen years Fast Ferry Management, Inc. has successfully developed and managed projects for the delivery of five high-speed passenger vessels for the cities of Vallejo and Long Beach, CA. Each project was similar to the District’s, requiring the development of detailed specifications and specific performance requirements; contract administration; construction oversight and quality control; and general project management.

Anticipated Schedule for Ferry Purchase

June 2007: Issue Request for Proposals for Vessel Builder

November 2007: Award Shipyard Contract

February 2009: Deliver Vessel

Need for a Third High Speed Ferry
The District currently has two high-speed passenger ferries: the M.V. Del Norte is a 390-passenger capacity vessel that makes the crossing to San Francisco in 30 minutes and was placed into service September 1998. The M.V. Mendocino is 450- passenger capacity vessel that also makes the crossing in 30 minutes and was placed in service September 2001.

Since July 2003, when the District began operating the weekday Larkspur/San Francisco service with the two high-speed vessels, ridership has been steadily growing and we now have three morning commute trips that regularly sail at capacity.

Purchasing a third new high speed vessel offers two significant passenger improvements:

  1. Since no high-speed “backup” vessel is available to place into service during routine annual dry-docking or when other maintenance activities are required, a “backup” high-speed vessel is needed to maintain the current level of service afforded by the District’s high-speed vessel fleet and preferred by Golden Gate Ferry customers. The lack of a “backup” high-speed vessel makes the Larkspur-San Francisco weekday service vulnerable to unexpected service delays and disruptions.
  2. A new high-speed vessel would also allow the District to add additional capacity to our existing service during peak service by providing 499 seats. It is staff’s intention to use the new high-capacity vessel in daily service and rotate the lower-capacity vessel into “backup” status, which would help relieve the wear and tear on the oldest of our high-speed vessels, the M.V. Del Norte.

Golden Gate Larkspur Ferry System Background
Larkspur Ferry service began in 1976. On the Larkspur route there are 41 crossing each weekday and 9 on Saturdays and Sundays.


Ridership Stats
FY 2006
FY 2005
FY 2004
FY 2003
FY 2002
FY 2001
Larkspur & Sausalito
Larkspur Annual


Average Weekday Larkspur


Larkspur ridership figures include special services such as service to Giants baseball stadium.