Title

EFFECTS OF ENHANCED FERRY SERVICE ON GOLDEN GATE CORRIDOR TRANSPORTATION: FROM DROMEDARY TO CAMEL: HOW MV DEL NORTE INVERTED THE FERRY RIDERSHIP CURVE

Authors

P Soumoy
T Sweeny

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2000

Subject Area

operations - capacity, land use - planning, ridership - demand, policy - parking, mode - ferry

Keywords

Vessel capacity, Strategies, Strategic planning, Speed, Ridership, Priorities, Peak periods, Patronage (Transit ridership), Parking demand, Objectives, Golden Gate Ferry, Goals, Ferries, Feeder services, Commuter service, Catamarans, California

Abstract

Golden Gate Ferry commuters consider speed as the paramount issue in ferry service. Since the Golden Gate Ferry's introduction in September 1998, ferry patrons have consistently chosen to ride the fleet's sole high-speed catamaran, MV Del Norte, even though survey respondents have said that this ferry is less comfortable than others. The unprecedented popularity of the new service, coupled with commuter unwillingness to use ferry feeders, has resulted in the terminal's parking lot being overburdened. This parking problem initially resulted in lower midday ridership and indirect negative effects on the system's overall efficiency. The addition of the catamaran to its passenger ferry fleet enabled Golden Gate Ferry to increase Larkspur-to-San Francisco service from 26 to 40 weekday trips. Operating at 35 knots, this vessel reduced transbay crossing time from 45 to 30 minutes. The enhanced service attracted new riders and dramatically changed peak period ridership times, inverting the ridership curve. However, the catamaran carries 325 passengers, about one-half of the other ferries' capacities. This limitation has resulted in unmet demand on certain commuting trips and overflow of the ferry parking facilities as passengers arrive early to board the fast boat. Golden Gate Ferry has identified two possible means of encouraging the use of ferry feeder services and decreasing the demand for the limited parking capacity: guaranteed boarding for ferry feeder patrons and enhancement of the feeder services. These first steps are crucial to smooth ferry service operations as Golden Gate Ferry prepares for the arrival of its next fast ferry in 2001.