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Golden Gate Ferry Service During Natural Disasters and Unprecedented Events

August 26, 2020 12:00 AM
Crews are constantly monitoring safety conditions

Golden Gate Ferry (GGF) has played an important role during regional emergencies over the years. Often, when disaster strikes, roads become impassible, but waterways are still viable modes of transportation. On several occasions, GGF has been instrumental in keeping the Bay Area moving, despite roadways or other major transportation arteries being inaccessible.

In January 1982, a massive rainstorm hit the North Bay. Virtually cut off from San Francisco due to mudslides and flooding, more than 16,000 passengers relied upon Golden Gate Ferry to bring them across the San Francisco Bay.

Following the October 17, 1989, Loma Prieta Earthquake, the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge remained closed for one month. During this time, Golden Gate Ferry ridership increased significantly.

During the week of September 8, 1997, San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system shut down when 2,600 workers went on strike. Larkspur Ferry was an alternate choice, and ridership increased significantly during the strike.

On September 11, 2001, after the terrorist attacks, GGF helped rapidly remove employees from San Francisco and deliver them to the North Bay. The ferries would board to capacity and return as soon as passengers were safely in Marin County. GGF worked closely with our Golden Gate Transit staff, who provided transportation from the Larkspur Ferry Terminal to unscheduled stops in the North Bay for the hundreds of people who had to leave their vehicles in the City.

Over Labor Day weekend in 2007 and 2009, the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge was closed in both directions for necessary seismic retrofit work. During this time, Golden Gate Ferry increased service on both the Sausalito and Larkspur routes. In addition, Golden Gate Transit transferred customers from BART stations in the East Bay to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, so they could continue their journey to San Francisco by ferry.

When roads and bridges are no longer reliable, Golden Gate Ferry has proven to be an invaluable resource.




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