Updated August 8, 2014
Posted July 7, 2014

BOARD APPROVES THE ADDITION OF AN AFTERNOON PEAK FERRY TRIP FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO LARKSPUR AND AN ADDITIONAL FERRY FEEDER COMMUTE SHUTTLE FROM TERRA LINDA TO LARKSPUR AT JULY 11TH MEETING

On Friday, July 11, 2014, the Board of Directors authorized the implementation of two nine-month demonstration projects related to the Golden Gate Ferry Larkspur Service “Strategic Vision.” The projects include:

  • Adding an afternoon peak ferry trip from San Francisco to Larkspur departing at 4:00 p.m. to provide service every 30 minutes between 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to alleviate overcrowding.
  • Instituting a ferry feeder shuttle bus operating during commute hours connecting the Smith Ranch Road Park & Ride Lot in Terra Linda to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.

Background

On May 10, 2013, the Board of Directors adopted the Larkspur Ferry Strategic Vision (“Strategic Vision”). The adopted Strategic Vision provides strategies to address the challenges presently facing Golden Gate Ferry service and provide direction for future growth. Two of the challenges are related to recent weekday peak period ridership increases, and include lack of landside access and on-board seating capacity.

The Strategic Vision identifies strategies to not only accommodate existing demand, but to grow ridership. Last year’s two Ferry demonstration projects to add a 7:30 AM Larkspur to San Francisco ferry and a ferry feeder bus between the Ross Valley and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal both had successful nine-month demonstration periods and were adopted by the Board as permanent elements of the system in May and June 2014, respectively.

Proposed Actions

Addition of an Afternoon Peak Ferry Trip from San Francisco to Larkspur

Since last year, Larkspur Ferry ridership has experienced some overcrowding on peak period trips leaving San Francisco on weekday afternoons. Staff proposes to add a new ferry departure at 4:00 PM from San Francisco to Larkspur and adjust other afternoon peak period sailing times resulting in ferry departures every 30 minutes between 3:00 PM and 6:30 PM. The advantages of this revision are as follows:

Vessels would depart San Francisco for Larkspur every 30 minutes. Instead of seven trips during this period there would be eight with the additional trip scheduled at 4:00 PM. This adjustment provides for all high-speed vessels (30-minute crossings), eliminating the one trip currently provided using a Spaulding-class vessel which is a 45-minute crossing and unpopular with customers.

This revised schedule, coupled with the replacement of the one 45-minute crossing with a 30-minute crossing, will provide customers with more options for their evening commute.

The tables below show the current and proposed ferry schedules:

CURRENT SAN FRANCISCO TO LARKSPUR FERRY WEEKDAY AFTERNOON
PEAK SCHEDULE EFFECTIVE JUNE 9, 2014

LEAVE LARKSPUR
FERRY TERMINAL
ARRIVE SAN FRANCISCO FERRY TERMINAL
LEAVE SAN FRANCISO
FERRY TERMINAL
ARRIVE LARKSPUR FERRY TERMINAL
Earlier trips are not shown
2:15 p.m.
2:50 p.m.
3:00 p.m.
3:30 p.m.
2:50 p.m.
3:25 p.m.
3:35 p.m.
4:05 p.m.
3:40 p.m.
4:15 p.m.
4:25 p.m.
4:55 p.m.
4:15 p.m.
4:45 p.m.
5:00 p.m.
5:30 p.m.
--
--
5:20 p.m.
5:50 p.m.
5:05 p.m.
5:40 p.m.
5:55 p.m.
6:25 p.m.
5:40 p.m.
6:15 p.m.
6:25 p.m.
6:55 p.m.
Later trips are not shown

PROPOSED SAN FRANCISCO TO LARKSPUR FERRY WEEKDAY AFTERNOON
PEAK SCHEDULE EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 29, 2014

LEAVE LARKSPUR
FERRY TERMINAL
ARRIVE SAN FRANCISCO FERRY TERMINAL
LEAVE SAN FRANCISO
FERRY TERMINAL
ARRIVE LARKSPUR FERRY TERMINAL
No changes proposed to earlier trips
2:15 p.m.
2:50 p.m.
3:00 p.m.
3:30 p.m.
2:50 p.m.
3:25 p.m.
3:30 p.m.
4:00 p.m.
--
--
4:00 p.m.
4:30 p.m.
3:40 p.m.
4:15 p.m.
4:30 p.m.
5:00 p.m.
4:10 p.m.
4:45 p.m.
5:00 p.m.
5:30 p.m.
4:45 p.m.
5:20 p.m.
5:30 p.m.
6:00 p.m.
5:10 p.m.
5:45 p.m.
6:00 p.m.
6:30 p.m.
5:40 p.m.
6:15 p.m.
6:30 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
No changes proposed to later trips

The increased cost of this additional trip will be approximately $187,000. Because this enhanced schedule adds a trip and replaces another trip that previously was provided using a slow speed vessel, an additional vessel master will be necessary. In addition to the vessel master, it is also necessary to add a deckhand. The only other cost will be the difference in fuel.

Estimated Budget Revised San Francisco/Larkspur Weekday Afternoon Schedule

Maintenance and Fuel
$    73,125
Vessel Master
$    66,000
Deckhand
$    47,857
Total
$  186,962

As was the practice with last year’s demonstration projects, this demonstration project would be evaluated at the six-month mark and a determination made if it should be continued on a permanent basis.

Addition of a Ferry Feeder Shuttle Bus from the Smith Ranch Road Park & Ride lot to the Larkspur Terminal

The successful demonstration project to re-introduce ferry feeder shuttle buses in the Sir Francis Drake corridor has led to consideration of other corridors where a similar demonstration project would be appropriate. The next largest concentration of Larkspur Ferry riders is in the San Rafael to Terra Linda area. Staff proposes to originate a demonstration service from the Smith Ranch Road Park & Ride lot directly to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal with an intermediate stop at the Freitas Parkway bus pad in Terra Linda.

Similar to the current schedule for the Sir Francis Drake corridor ferry shuttle service, feeder buses would meet morning departures from Larkspur to San Francisco at 7:00 AM, 7:30 AM, 7:50 AM, 8:20 AM, and 9:15 AM. Feeder buses would meet afternoon to evening arrivals between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Dedicated buses and drivers would be used for these trips to avoid issues with late buses due to traffic and delays from buses being interlined with trips to San Francisco that emerged when feeder buses were operated prior to 2003. Fares would be integrated with the ferry so that passengers continuing to or from San Francisco would have a free shuttle trip. Two buses and drivers would be needed for morning service and the same for afternoon. A total of 11.7 hours of service would be operated each weekday.

As a demonstration project, this service would be evaluated at the six-month mark to determine whether it is attracting sufficient ridership. In last year’s demonstration project for a ferry feeder bus along the Sir Francis Drake Corridor, the productivity benchmark for ferry feeder buses was an average of 10 riders per trip, and it is recommended to use that guideline again for this service. The estimated nine-month operating cost for this service is approximately $188,000. This service would be operated with Part-time Bus Operators as provided for in the current contract with Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local No. 1575.

For more details, read the full staff report.