Overcrowded Ferries Create New Problems for Bay Area Commuters - NBC Bay Area
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Overcrowded Ferries Create New Problems for Bay Area Commuters

In 10 years the Larkspur/San Francisco Ferry has gone from 1.9 million passengers a year to 2.6 million riders, with the peak demand starting at 7:30 a.m. on the weekdays.

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    In the past 10 years, the Larkspur/San Francisco ferry’s annual ridership has jumped from 1.9 to 2.6 million. But officials say they can't add more boats without studying the potential environmental effects of such a move. Mark Matthews reports. (Published Monday, Feb. 29, 2016)

    Ferry service to the North Bay is becoming so popular it is causing problems for commuters.

    Rush-hour riders must now get to the Larkspur terminal 20 to 30 minutes ahead of time to make sure they are able to get a seat

    In 10 years the Larkspur/San Francisco Ferry has gone from 1.9 million passengers a year to 2.6 million riders, with the peak demand starting at 7:30 a.m. on the weekdays.

    Jim Swindler, deputy director for the Larkspur Ferry, said service starting at 7:30 a.m. up to 8:40 a.m. are "pretty well chock-a-block" full.

    Swindler said the ferry cannot just add more boats without going through an environment impact review, which he estimates would take a couple of years to complete.

    The ferry service is currently restricted to 42 trips a day.

    The Golden Gate Transportation district has moved trips from the middle of the day to the rush hours, but that leaves middle of the day passengers with longer waits.

    Parking at the Larkspur terminal is also hard to find after 7:30 a.m. The main overflow lot is full and neighbors have posted signs warning ferry passengers away from their lots.

    Commuters from surrounding neighborhoods are encouraged to take the free feeder buses to the terminal. Swindler also said when the Smart Train connects Larkspur to north Marin and Sonoma, pressure on the ferry will in turn increase.

    The ferry service is planning on the environmental review necessary to increase the number of boats and talking with Larkspur city officials to increase parking at the terminal.

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