Posted April 11, 2011

Click here to download high-res Ticket Vending Machine photos


Tuesday, April 12, 2011, Soft Launch Starts on New Ticket Machines at Golden Gate Ferry Terminals
Golden Gate Ferry Ticket Office Hours Reduced During Transition to Ticket Machines

With a five-year $89 million shortfall, more than 30 different cost-savings and revenue generating initiatives are being considered for implementation by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD), the public agency that operates the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Ferry and Golden Gate Transit systems. Most recently, the GGBHTD made the decision to convert the Golden Gate Bridge to All Electronic Tolling by fall 2012, generating savings of more than $16 million over a ten-year period through the elimination of 28 full-time and 4 part-time toll collection positions.

To save approximately $6.2 million over the next ten years, under another cost savings initiative, 12 ticket vending machines (TVM) have been installed as follows: 4 at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, 6 at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal, and 2 at the Sausalito Ferry Landing. Once the TVMs are fully implemented, seven full-time ticket agent positions will be eliminated (to date, 5 of the 7 soon to be displaced ticket agents are being placed into other jobs here at the GGBHTD).

The TVM soft launch period will allow Golden Gate Ferry customers to begin to familiarize themselves with a new and convenient way to purchase ferry tickets and Clipper cards, as well as add value to their existing Clipper cards. The new TVMs accept cash (bills up to $20 and coins), debit cards, and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover). The TVMs will available during the same hours that the Golden Gate Ferry system is in operation.

The TVM project budget is $4 million of which $1,985,000 is from Regional Measure 2 funds and the remaining $2,015,000 is District funds.

Customers are advised that the TVMs cannot process two types of ferry ticket transactions:

  1. AT&T ferry tickets may not be purchased through the TVMs and must be purchased on-line at and “Will Call” for AT&T ferry tickets will still be available.
  2. Using Commuter Checks to add value to Clipper Cards cannot be processed at the TVMs. This must be done off-site (In San Francisco: Bay Crossings inside Ferry Building, Clipper Kiosk @ Embarcadero BART, Walgreens (33 Drumm or 88 Spear). In MARIN: Walgreens, 155 Northgate, San Rafael and 830 Third Street, San Rafael; Whistlestop Wheels, 930 Tamalpais Ave, San Rafael ). Customers may call Clipper at 877.878.8883 for additional locations.

During the transition to the ticket machines, TICKET OFFICE HOURS at Larkspur and San Francisco will be reduced by about 50%.


9:00am - 11:15am
9:00am - 2:00pm
11:30am- 1:00pm
3:00pm - 4:30pm
1:30pm - 3:45pm
4:00pm - 4:45pm
San Francisco
10:15am - 12:00pm
10:15am - 12:00pm
12:15pm - 1:30pm
12:15pm - 1:30pm
2:00pm - 4:00pm
2:00pm - 4:45pm
4:15pm - 4:45pm
5:00pm - 6:00pm




Additional Background

Staff report presented at December 16, 2010, Building & Operating Committee meeting

Staff report presented at October 21, 2010, Finance-Auditing Committee meeting

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s (GGBHTD) Financial Plan for Achieving Long-Term Financial Stability adopted in October 2009, and updated October 22, 2010, includes 33 distinct initiatives that, if implemented, will reduce the recently projected 5-year shortfall of $89 million. Initiative #5 is listed as “Automate Ferry Revenue Collection.” Under this initiative, it is envisioned that 12 electronic ticket vending machine would be purchased and installed to improve revenue auditing capabilities and reduce the number of full time ticket agents currently employed by Golden Gate Ferry. This initiative, once implemented, could impact up to 7 full time positions. The savings over a ten-year period are projected at $6.2 million, and $2.6 million over a 5-year period. There are several components to this initiative:

  1. Field site work required to prepare the ferry terminal site for installation of the electronic ticket vending machines.
  2. Purchasing and installing 12 electronic ticket vending machines that are compatible with the regional smartcard-Clipper program at the three Golden Gate Ferry facilities (Larkspur, Sausalito, San Francisco).
  3. Purchasing and installing state-of-the-art passenger counters to assist in improved auditing of the number of passenger boarding a given vessel.

On February 26, 2010, the Board of Directors approved the execution of a cooperative agreement with Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) under which MTC would procure, on the District’s behalf, the 12 electronic ticket vending machines and associated hardware and software from Cubic as all Clipper hardware and software is provided by Cubic through its contract with MTC as a region-wide program. In addition, the District has requested software modifications not originally contemplated that will allow the ticket vending machines to be tailored to the District’s specific needs. The total project budget for the Ferry Ticket Vending Machines is $4 million of which $1,985,000 is from Regional Measure 2 funds and the remaining $2,015,000 is District funds.


High-resolution images. Click on image and save to your local drive.


Ferry Ticket Machine Customer
Ferry Ticket Machine Customer
Ferry Ticket Machine Front Panel
Ferry Ticket Machine Menu


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. What can I do at the new Ticket Vending Machine (TVM)?

A. You can buy regular ferry tickets (also called Limited Use tickets) or Clipper cards, which can be reloaded again and again. Limited Use tickets are good for either one or two trips, depending on your selection. You can also purchase a new Clipper Card, and add cash value or other transit agencies’ products and passes. Rides or value CANNOT be added to Golden Gate Ferry Limited use tickets.


Q. What forms of payment are accepted at the TVM?

A. TVMs accept cash (bills up to $20 and coins), debit cards, and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover).


Q. Can I use my commuter benefits checks at the TVM to add value to my Clipper card?
A. No. Although commuter benefits checks are still accepted at Golden Gate Ferry ticket windows, operating hours will be gradually reduced and eventually the windows will close permanently. Please visit one of these nearby vendors, which accept these checks:

San Francisco

  • San Francisco Ferry Terminal
  • Bay Crossings inside Ferry Building *
  • Clipper Kiosk at the Embarcadero BART station *
  • Walgreens (Multiple Locations including 33 Drumm St.)

Marin County

  • Larkspur Ferry Terminal
  • Walgreens, 155 Northgate, San Rafael
  • Whistletop Wheels, 930 Tamalpais Ave, San Rafael * (415) 456-9062 (Mon-Fri, 8:00am-4:00pm)

*These locations also issue Senior, Youth, and RTC cards on the spot.

Note: Please check directly with vendors for hours and commuter benefits check acceptance policy. Visit for list of all vendors.


Q. Where can I get a Senior/Disabled or Youth Clipper card on the spot?

A. See list of locations above that have an asterisk (*). Always check for the current list of locations that issue Senior/Disabled and Youth Clipper cards on the spot, or accept applications in-person for card fulfillment by Clipper.


Q. What type of fare medium should I buy, a Limited Use Ticket, or a Clipper Card?

A. If you are planning on taking only a one way or a round trip journey on Golden Gate Ferry, you should buy a Limited Use ticket. If you plan to ride Golden Gate Ferry more often, or plan to travel on other Bay Area transit agencies, a Clipper card offers greater convenience and a discounted fare on Golden Gate Ferry.


Q. How do I use my Limited Use Ticket or Clipper Card on Golden Gate Ferry?

A. After purchasing your Ticket or Clipper card, simply hold it and touch the Clipper logo on the card reader located at the terminal entrance. That’s it! (Note: Unlike on Golden Gate Transit Bus and some other agencies, you do NOT need to tag off when getting off a Golden Gate Ferry vessel.)


Q. What if I have a question about my Clipper card account, or have another account-related question?

A. Call the number on the back for your Clipper card for Clipper Customer Service (1-877-878-8883).