Hundreds of spectators and a high school band packed a gleaming new $25 million ferry terminal in South San Francisco this morning to celebrate the launch of a new ferry service between the Peninsula and the East Bay.
The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority today began running its regular weekday ferry service between the Oyster Point Ferry Terminal and ferry terminals in Oakland and Alameda.
WETA hosted a ribbon cutting to launch the ferry service, the first new Bay crossing commuter route since 1992, when the agency started running ferries between San Francisco and Alameda's Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, called the new glass-paneled terminal at Oyster Point a "work of art" and recalled when construction began on the project about two and a half years ago.
"For those of us in public life, there's nothing better than being at a groundbreaking and still being alive for the ribbon-cutting," Speier said.
South San Francisco Mayor Richard Garbarino addressed the packed terminal and acknowledged public anticipation for the start of the new service.
"As you can see by the number of people here today, the excitement is palpable," he said.
The South San Francisco High School band played "Stars and Stripes Forever" as politicians and transit officials cut a ribbon to the gangway and posed for pictures.
Two state-of-the-art vessels are scheduled to make three weekday trips from the East Bay to South San Francisco in the morning, and two return trips every evening.
The ferries can accommodate 149 passengers and 34 bikes, and feature free Wi-Fi, booth seating and a bar.
One-way adult fares are $7, though passengers can ride free through Friday.
Free shuttles -- provided by Genentech and the Peninsula Congestion Relief Alliance -- will meet passengers at the terminal and drive them to key office centers in the area.
San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom echoed the sentiments of many when she said it was "a great day for commuters" and glanced over her shoulder at the ferry bobbing in the bay behind her.
"I can't wait to take a ride," she said.