Updated December 23, 2013

Larkspur Ferry Parking Fee to Begin in February 2014

Customer Education and Enrollment Assistance in January 2014

The Larkspur Ferry paid parking program will now be starting in February 2014. District staff will begin outreach in January, educating Ferry customers on how the Parkmobile parking system works and assisting customers with opening accounts, registering vehicles, and purchasing monthly permits. More information will be coming soon.

Parking fees will be as follows:

Fee for ALL vehicles
Weekdays (excluding specific holidays noted below)
5 am to 3 pm
After 3pm
No Charge
All Day
No Charge
Monthly (Pre-paid)
Valid at all times
$20 per month

RESTRICTIONS: Parking at Larkspur Ferry Terminal is available for Larkspur Ferry customers for up to a 24-hour period.

All parking spaces are first come, first serve basis. Monthly permit holders are not guaranteed a space.

SEVEN (7) HOLIDAYS WITH NO PARKING FEE CHARGED from 5am to 3 pm: On the three holidays that there is no ferry service: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day PLUS Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, July 4th (Independence Day), Labor Day.

PARKING FEE WILL BE CHARGED ON THESE HOLIDAYS from 5 am to 3 pm: Martin Luther King Day, Cesar Chavez Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Day After Thanksgiving.

The new revenues generated are projected at approximately $400,000 per year. These revenues would be used to offset general ferry operating expenses, as fares only cover approximately 50% of those expenses.

Collection Methodology

  • The principal method of collecting the parking fee will be via the Parkmobile smart phone application, a leading firm in the electronic collection of parking fees.
  • Passengers may register a vehicle and use a credit card or debit card either to pay a daily fee or purchase a monthly pass, and receive a receipt via e-mail.
  • Passengers without a smart phone may call a toll-free number and pay by phone with a credit card. Passengers can also use any computer, i.e. home or office to pay online via a web application that links to the Parkmobile data base, and also receive an e-mail receipt.
  • Staff is researching how to allow passengers without a credit/debit card to pay the fee and will have more information on this aspect soon.
  • For enforcement purposes, staff would be able to determine which vehicles had not paid by accessing the Parkmobile database and checking license plate numbers. The fines for non-payment of applicable parking fees will be the subject of a separate Board action.
Total Daily Travel Costs to and from Downtown San Francisco
Round Trip Transit Fares + Parking at Transit Stations; Parking fees are daily single-use fees; discounted rates e.g. monthly pass, if available, are not shown.
Pleasant Hill
Walnut Creek
Rockridge or Ashby
Burlingame or San Mateo
Menlo Park or Palo Alto
Larkspur Terminal (proposed)


Comparison of Daily Commute Costs via All Modes from Larkspur to San Francisco
Fares and tolls are those offered via Fastrak tm or Clipper tm and are discounted appropriately.
Golden Gate Ferry
Golden Gate Transit Bus
Driving to San Francisco

Previous Actions and Public Outreach

Comments on the Proposed Larkspur Ferry Terminal Parking Fee

247 unique comments were received by the District.
Comments in Support of the Proposal = 87 (35%)
Comments in Opposition to the Proposal = 96 (39%)
Comments in Opposition to the Proposal Mentioning Preferred Price Point = 49 (20%)

Staff Responses to General Categories of Public Comment

Responses to Comments Made in Opposition by Comment Category

Of the 145 comments made in opposition to the proposal and in opposition to the proposal while mentioning a price point, a variety of specific themes were mentioned. These themes are addressed below and represent unique concerns from 122 commenting individuals.

Comment: Will Be Too Expensive (29)
Ferry parking fees allow the District to cover the annual costs associated with maintaining a safe, secure, accessible, and properly functioning facility for those wishing to access the Larkspur Ferry system via automobile. Those using ferry services on a regular or semi-regular basis should consider the monthly pass option in order to reduce monthly parking costs. A variety of non-automobile access modes to Larkspur Ferry Terminal are offered including the free Wave shuttle bus (Route 25), bicycle access, pedestrian access, and automobile drop-off access.

Additionally, patrons may wish to utilize alternate competitively priced Golden Gate Transit express bus service which covers a larger catchment area, offers sufficient seating capacity, and is available with free parking for commuters throughout Marin and Sonoma counties.

Comment: Will Incentivize Driving to San Francisco (19)
While some customers may choose to switch to automobile commuting, based on an October 2013 survey of driving and parking costs, the current estimate for driving to downtown San Francisco from the midpoint of the ferry catchment area is $46 per day including gasoline, maintenance, depreciation, insurance, bridge toll, and downtown parking. Those considering an automobile commute may wish to evaluate other options, including competitively or lower priced Golden Gate Transit express bus service as well as the alternative modes of access offered to Larkspur Ferry Terminal, including free bus shuttle, bicycling, pedestrian access, and terminal drop off.

Comment: Expand Shuttle System (17)
Although parking revenue will not be dedicated to expanding shuttle service, the District will continue its nine-month pilot program of the Ross Valley-Sir Francis Drake ferry feeder shuttle service and evaluate any potential expansion plans. Current Board-approved expansion plans of this service to Manor will begin November 4, 2013.

Comment: Expand Parking Lot Capacity (12)
The District is currently exploring the costs and benefits of all options to expand Larkspur Ferry Terminal parking capacity. However, the paid parking proposal is directly tied to funding the annual costs to maintain the 1,808 space Larkspur Ferry Terminal parking lot. In the interim a number of alternate mode access options exist, including free shuttle bus, bicycling, pedestrian access, and terminal drop off.

Comment: Increase Fares Instead (10)
A number of comments point to the potential administrative burden and customer inconvenience of a separate second fee program and recommend including parking lot maintenance costs in patron fares. Such a concern is noted and all attempts have been made to identify a parking fee payment system that will result in no time delay to access the system during the critical commute period. The District is pursuing a payment system utilizing a mobile application, online site, and phone line via the Parkmobile system. Payments will be allowed within a given grace period so that patrons will not need to arrive at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal any earlier than currently.

Additionally, as alternate modes of access such as bicycling, walking, and free shuttle bus continue to rise in popularity, a parking user fee for those accessing the system via single occupant automobile presents itself as the option that is most equitable for all users.

Comment: Pursue Other Revenue Generation Techniques (6)
The District has completed a number of the revenue-generating methods outlined in the Financial Plan for Achieving Long-Term Financial Stability. The Larkspur Ferry Terminal parking fee was originally included in the plan as initiative number 15. Currently no mechanism is in place for covering those costs incurred through parking lot maintenance, security costs, ADA accessibility conformance upgrades, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) upgrade requirements, and monthly utility costs. A parking fee allows for the continued operations of the Larkspur Ferry Terminal parking lot that is safe, secure, accessible, and operational for those wishing to access the lot via private automobile.

Comment: Will Increase Congestion at Larkspur Ferry Terminal Entrance/Exit (6)
No gantry installation or gate barriers are included in the proposal. Current proposed parking payment system will be through the Parkmobile system, which allows for payment via mobile phone application, website, phone, and onboard vessel cash payment. A grace period will allow for a payment without the need to arrive any earlier at the terminal.

Comment: Will Lead to Spillover to Bus System (5)
A number of express bus options are provided daily from Sonoma and Marin counties to San Francisco. Most of these are price competitive--or less expensive--than Larkspur Ferry fares, and currently operating with sufficient capacity to absorb additional patronage. No bus parking lot fees are charged at any of the park & ride facilities offered.

Comment: Although Other Major U.S. Transit Operators Charge for Parking, there is no Unique Reason the Ferry Division Should Follow Suit (4)
District mentions the utilization of a paid parking program by various transit operators across the nation to highlight the fact that a number of price points are utilized to address the annual costs of maintaining a safe, secure, accessible, and properly functioning facility for those wishing to access commute transit services via automobile. Many comparable transit systems also are accessed with a similar mode split of bicycles, pedestrians, drop offs, and shuttle bus, which are offered at no cost to the user.

Comment: Will Discourage Public Transit Use (3)
Although the price of accessing the Larkspur Ferry Terminal will increase for those utilizing a single occupant vehicle, a variety of options exist for those who find the higher price untenable including a lower priced express bus service as well as the alternate modes of access to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal including free shuttle bus, bicycling, walking, and terminal drop off via automobile.

Comment: Savings from Ticket Office Closure should be Sufficient to Achieve District Cost Savings Goals (3)
While cost savings have been absorbed into the Ferry operating budget, those costs associated with maintaining, resurfacing, securing, and lighting a 1,808 space parking are not covered and require a funding stream in part from users of the ferry system who arrive by automobile.

Comment: Unfair for those Who Park Irregularly (2)
Patrons utilizing the Larkspur Ferry Terminal are encouraged to choose the discounted monthly pass option depending on the number of days in a given month the ferry system is utilized. For those parking infrequently on a monthly basis the daily payment option will represent the lower cost option.

Comment: Create Satellite Parking with Shuttles (2)
The District is currently exploring all possible options to expand satellite parking capacity, however no specific site has been identified. Customers are encouraged to visit www.goldengate.org for updates regarding satellite parking options that may become an option in the future.

Comment: Various Operational Complaints Regarding Ramps, Schedule Adherence, and Patron Queues (1)
While many day to day operational issues may arise, the focus of the paid parking program is to cover the annual costs of maintaining a safe, secure, accessible, and properly functioning parking facility for those wishing to access the Larkspur Ferry system via automobile.

Comment: Parking Fees are a Disparate Impact in Violation of Title VI (1)
No quantitative evidence referencing any Federal or District guidelines is mentioned to support the claim of a Title VI violation. Service area median household income obtained from onboard ferry surveys was determined to be in excess of the U.S. Census median household income cutoff level used to trigger a determination of disparate impact based on Title VI. Criteria are based on Board of Directors-approved guidelines developed in accordance with Federal Transit Administration regulations.

Comment: Request Program Include a Guaranteed Spot (1)
Current parking payment proposal will not ensure a guaranteed spot due to the desire to maximize the 1,808 available spaces to full capacity. A designated spot policy would effectively reduce lot capacity on days monthly pass holders did not utilize the ferry system.

Comment: Will Need Additional Bike Parking at Terminal or on Vessel (1)
Recent District efforts have expanded bicycle parking within the paid area and currently offer surplus capacity for any additional bicycle demand that may result from paid parking. District will monitor future bicycle demand and expand bicycle storage and bicycle parking facilities if warranted.