San Mateo Daily Journal
By Heather Murtagh
Due to the weather, people packed into the new $40 million ferry terminal, including the vessels, in South San Francisco Monday to celebrate its opening.
Employees trying to get to work in the biotech area of South San Francisco have a new method of transportation — a ferry allowing access from Jack London Square to the terminal that officially opened Monday morning.
More than 300 people crowded into the ferry terminal at Oyster Point Marina, 935 Marina Blvd. in South San Francisco Monday morning to get a glimpse of the newest form of transportation on the Peninsula. Almost three years after breaking ground, the $40 million project is estimated to handle 1.2 million passengers annually with plans to possibly grow in the future.
“This is a steel and concrete testament to the dreams of generations,” U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo/San Francisco, said to a packed house Monday morning.
Political officials, local business representatives and South City residents joined together yesterday to celebrate the opening.
The new service will carry peak-hour commuters from ferry terminals in Oakland and Alameda to Oyster Point Ferry Terminal in about 40 to 50 minutes. At its start, there will be three morning rush hour departures from the East Bay and two return trips from Oyster Point in the evening, according to the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority. The number of weekday trips will be revisited depending on the popularity of the new service.
Mayor Rich Garbarino was excited that South San Francisco has the distinction of offering one more transportation alternative to those in the area.
Councilman Kevin Mullin, who spoke on behalf of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, pointed to voter-approved measures that raised the money to fund the building of the terminal.
Funding was secured from multiple locations including regional Measure 2 from a $1 bridge toll increase, San Mateo County Measure A revenue from sales tax and state Proposition 1B money for service.
The project was financially on hold for some time but restarted when the final $3 million grant was secured from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Speier made the announcement in September 2009 noting securing it was a joint effort with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, which piggybacked on efforts of the late congressman Tom Lantos who secured nearly $10 million for the construction of vessels and the terminal.
Vice Mayor Pedro Gonzalez, who has long advocated for the service, was the last to speak.
“Jackie Gleason used to say, ‘How sweet it is,’” he said with a smile.
Gonzalez recounted the years this project was handled by those in leadership before him. Then, once passed to him, the wait continued over a number of years before ferry service to San Mateo County could become a reality.
“The years it has taken were definitely well spent,” he said.
Gonzalez described the opening as a dream come true. Opening a terminal will give employees an alternative to driving to South San Francisco, easing road congestion while also lessening the city’s carbon footprint, he said.
The SF Bay Ferry in South San Francisco at Oyster Point Marina offers stops at Alameda and Oakland. Round-trip service will be available Monday through Friday with three morning departures to South San Francisco and two evening departures to Oakland and Alameda. Travel time takes 40 to 50 minutes. Fare is $7 per person and $3.50 for children and seniors.
The South City location offers free shuttle service to 19 employers in the area, free parking, 12 bike lockers, room for more than 30 bikes on board, free wireless Internet on board and a snack and beverage bar on board.
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