Ride the Wave

A trans-bay ferry service will reduce strain on other public transit systems and offer another way into Berkeley.

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Anyone who has attempted to get around the Bay Area during rush hour can attest to crowded train compartments, limited seating on buses, bumper-to-bumper traffic and general personal space invasion. Alternative outlets to alleviate passenger capacity should be welcomed by commuters, and a new ferry service is just one way to deal with the issue.

The ferry line would connect various terminals around the bay, including one in our own backyard, potentially at the Berkeley Marina, Berkeley Fishing Pier, Gilman Street or Buchanan Street. While the project comes with a price tag of $22 million, it's a worthwhile investment, especially in light of the 300,000 more passengers expected to partake in the daily trans-bay journey by 2025.

Making Berkeley a stop along another transit route is advantageous to the area, connecting it with other major cities and bringing outsiders to shop at local businesses. While the cost to take the ferry is likely to be more than to take BART, it could cater to a different group of higher-income spenders who normally wouldn't even think to hop onto public transportation.

And doing just that has always been encouraged in order to get cars off the road. But some systems, particularly BART, can only accommodate so many riders without a massive overhaul. And with the looming BART fare increases, providing another way to get across the bay is suitable considering the dense Bay Area population.

The environmental impacts of the project will always remain a concern. Needless to say, they must be properly assessed and addressed before construction proceeds.

A Berkeley ferry would not only increase accessibility to the city but also help ease other overloaded systems.

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