January 28, 2021 — The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) Board of Directors, the Port of Redwood City Board of Port Commissioners and the Redwood City Council have received the results of a study determining Redwood City ferry service to be feasible and will move forward to develop a business plan identifying funding scenarios, service plans and last-mile connection support.
WETA, the Port and the City have entered into an agreement on how to proceed with business plan development. While the project remains in its early stages of development and consideration, the feasibility finding is an important step.
Redwood City launched the wide-ranging feasibility study in 2019 with key assistance from WETA, which operates San Francisco Bay Ferry service. The study focused on five key questions to determine feasibility of ferry service in Redwood City: ridership demand, infrastructure requirements, financial capacity, public benefit and the project’s consistency with existing plans. The study found that Redwood City ferry service met all of these feasibility tests.
Proposed ferry service would connect Redwood City to San Francisco and/or Oakland. A preferred terminal site was identified on Port property at the eastern end of Seaport Boulevard.
The Port Commission and WETA Board of Directors accepted the study in November 2020 and the City Council accepted the study on January 11. The agencies will now develop a business plan, as required by the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. The business plan is a crucial next step expected to be completed in 2021.
“WETA is thrilled to continue our work to bring ferry service to Redwood City,” said WETA Executive Director Seamus Murphy. “This is a critical project to build out our San Francisco Bay Ferry system and improve the lives of people who live or work in Redwood City.”
“Welcoming ferry service back to the Port of Redwood City has been years in the making,” said Redwood City Mayor Diane Howard. “While there is still much work to be completed, this marks a great milestone towards advancing the project and the City Council’s priority of creating and maintaining safe, multimodal and accessible transportation options.”
“The ferry is a long-awaited transportation alternative and emergency preparedness asset that will be a welcome addition to the amenities that the Port offers to the Peninsula and South Bay community,” said Board of Port Commissioners Chair Lorianna Kastrop, “We look forward to partnering with the City and WETA on the next steps to bring ferry service to Redwood City and to make this critical sustainability project a reality.”
The feasibility study projected that Redwood City ferry service would serve approximately 2,100 passengers per day at launch, with that ridership projected to double by 2040, providing a low-stress alternative to driving alone. The estimated farebox recovery rate 10 years after launch could reach 76 percent, according to the study, which would make Redwood City ferry service one of the most efficient public transit services in the Bay Area.
In addition, the service would lead to job creation during terminal construction as well as increase long-term skilled labor demand in the local maritime industry. San Francisco Bay Ferry rates among the best Bay Area transit agencies in terms of passenger satisfaction and Redwood City ferry service, the study found, would provide substantial benefits for commuters using two of the most congested corridors in the region.
The feasibility study was funded by San Mateo County Measure A transportation sales tax revenue. Funding sources for the proposed ferry terminal, vessels and ferry operation will be determined in the business plan.
The feasibility study and more information on the proposed project can be found at https://www.redwoodcity.org/departments/community-development-department/planning-housing/planning-services/potential-redwood-city-ferry.