December 8, 2009
Port Of San Francisco To Issue Water Taxi RFP Early Next Year
"Port staff will begin solidifying [water taxi] berthing agreements for various locations in South Beach, Pier 1½, Central Waterfront and Pier 39/Fisherman’s Wharf...[and] contemplate issuing a Request of Qualifications to gauge commercial interest and viability of an operation in February 2010."
First Published: December 8, 2009 8:15 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
UPDATE: A link to the Port of San Francisco's Water Taxi Feasibility Study (which will be presented this afternoon) has been added above.
Posted by: SocketSite at December 8, 2009 11:22 AM
Now let build more mid rises between Braodway and Mission Bay so more of us might have a chance to live on the waterfront utlize these
Posted by: zig at December 8, 2009 12:56 PM
Wonderful, but don't stop there. Take it all the way to Fort Mason and the jetty at Fort Point--there's no public transportation to the Crissy Field area.
Posted by: Delancey at December 8, 2009 1:32 PM
This is geared towards tourism, right ? Locals would be using the existing options running along the Embarcadero since they're faster and cheaper.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 8, 2009 1:37 PM
I'm of a mixed opinion on this one.
The current fleet of ferries pollutes more per passenger mile than any other transportation method, including single passenger private vehicles.
That being said, we need to get the infrastructure in place to support less polluting water taxis.
Posted by: Eric in SF at December 8, 2009 3:00 PM
I would agree with Milkshake of Despair here on this being for tourists mostly. The feasibility study acknowledges that, while the F-Market & Wharves is overly packed at peak hours, none of the boats pictured would help with this overcapacity problem, nor would any of these boats be cheaper than simply adding another street car to the F-line. The feasibility study also notes that fares for comparable boats in other cities are at least $7, a price which would likely only ensnare tourists. I can't imagine that people would want to take these water taxis in the winter either, and it's probably a cold and windy form of transport during other parts of the year as well.
Posted by: corntrollio at December 8, 2009 3:13 PM
boondoggle. Muni has been "planning" for years to run the E-line along the full Embarcadero from Fish Wharf to the ball park. Just get it running already! There are plenty of cheaper and more readily available practical transportation options. I can't imagine that it would be quicker to take a water taxi than to take the E-line, unless these are some high-speed powerboats. As someone who is interested in and occassionally engages in kayaking on the waterfront (which is a wonderful experience, and I encourage everyone to give it a try), adding more motorized boats unnecessarily cruising the shoreline seems a bit negative, in addition to the fact that the boats will disturb sealife and the general quiet of the water.
Posted by: huh at December 8, 2009 4:34 PM
Have to agree about the E-line comment. The only question would be how E-line and F-line work togther on the same rails along the Embarcadero. E-line needs to have cars that deal with elevated stops from Folsom to 4th/King. That would mean the typical Muni metro cars. So those would need to co-exist with F-line antique cars that run at slower speeds (from what I've experienced)?
Posted by: Can't think of cool name at December 8, 2009 9:08 PM
I've used the water taxis at Boston Logan airport and it's hard to see something like that being used here.
For one thing, those boats are in no way shape or form ADA compliant.
For another, they're 10 bucks a pop. That's fine when you're traveling but for day to day commuting that's steep.
And as other's have pointed out the service would parallel an already existing light rail line. How stupid is that?
And as for studying it's economic viability. Unless there's already a private company chomping at the bit to get started that just needs dock space there's no point in even studying this option.
Posted by: diemos at December 8, 2009 9:18 PM
Yeah, it's mainly tourist-oriented. What residents willingly go to Fisherman's Wharf? Though were I commuting between north and south beach I'd gladly take a $10 water taxi over 2 muni rail lines. (4 muni rides a day is just asking for delay) I'd be glad to use it to get to Fort Mason events, a little over a half-mile walk from the last stop.
I think the plan is to use existing dock facilities. This isn't the proposed Berkeley $57 million taj marina.
Posted by: Delancey at December 8, 2009 9:51 PM
Woo hoo, just like the chao phraya river boats in Bangkok! Not exactly environmentally friendly, but loads of fun, and efficient. But $7 a pop makes it a novelty more than serious commuter transportation. At least SF will be able to brag, "we have it".
Posted by: 45yo hipster at December 9, 2009 3:16 AM
The E-line is ready for operation. All of the original Embarcadero extension stops were retrofitted to accept the historic streetcars many years ago. You can see the added ADA ramps on the wrong side of the tracks at the ends of the stations.
The only thing preventing the E-line from operating is money to buy rolling stock and more importantly, to maintain a larger fleet of historic streetcars.
I suspect the line north of the Ferry Building is incompatible with the Breda cars. Even if they *could* run Bredas on the E, MUNI is short on LRV vehicles with no money to purchase more, so service would fall on existing lines to support the E.
I hate and hate and love (a little) MUNI as much as the next person but do realize that a lot of MUNI's recent short-term fiscal problems were caused by Sacramento taking away local transit funds for the state general fund.
Posted by: Eric in SF at December 9, 2009 8:35 AM
Forget the Muni option. I work on the Embacadro, and the streetcars are usually so full that they won't even stop to pick up additional passengers between Market and Pier 39. Muni is a complete disaster, as always.
The water taxi is a cool idea, especially since it could theoretically go out to the presidio even, and avoid all street traffic.
Posted by: anon at December 9, 2009 8:50 AM
Why this city doesn't buy modern low floor vehicles to run of the F and E lines I don't know. They can run both but it is clear that both are needed.
Posted by: Zig at December 9, 2009 9:33 AM
I'm a bit surprised that the feasibility study didn't include Vancouver. I lived two blocks away from False Creek in Vancouver for the better part of 2008, and I used their water taxi service occassionally. It was mainly used by tourists, but I'd see locals using riding it as well to go Granville Island for groceries and such. The fares were fair for short rides (~$3 CAD), though longer routes did indeed cost more.
It would be nice if the route included a stop at Crissy Field, which would mean it would have to be dog friendly.
Posted by: joh at December 9, 2009 10:03 AM
I stopped reading the feasibility study once it claimed that an aggressive assumption for ridership on the F-Market is only 1306-1440. That number seems way low...
Posted by: Shawn at December 9, 2009 1:56 PM