Now Reading
We Rode the Treasure Island Ferry on Its First Day. Here’s What Went Right and Wrong
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

We Rode the Treasure Island Ferry on Its First Day. Here’s What Went Right and Wrong

Captain Jeremiah Brazil grew up in San Francisco, so he’s a bit of an authority when it comes to the city’s iconic views. 

“Everyone knows the best view of [the city] is from Treasure Island,” said the long-time boat captain, who was visibly excited about the new ferry service running between the man-made island and the Ferry Building.

“It’s just neat. The last time there was any vessel that took people to and from Treasure Island was the World Fair” in the 1930s, Brazil said.

Captain Jeremiah Brazil docks on the San Francisco side of the ferry’s route on March 1, 2022. | Camille Cohen

While waiting for the few passengers to board, he turned out to look at the Bay. “This is my office,” Brazil said, gesturing to the waves under the Bay Bridge. “I just love this job.”

San Francisco launched the ferry Tuesday in what will now be daily service, running 16 hours a day. The ferry service is part of a larger redevelopment effort taking place on the island and the neighboring Yerba Buena Island. The cost for a one-way ferry ride is $5, but monthly passes are available for $150. Children 4 and younger can ride for free. 

That is, if the ferry arrives. 

Due to a misprint on the printed and digital schedule, the boat slated to arrive at the Ferry Building’s Gate B at 12:15 p.m. never appeared. The lack of communication between PROP SF, which owns the vessels and manages the Treasure Island Ferry Terminal, and Golden Gate Ferry, which manages the San Francisco Ferry Building, left prospective customers like Jason Hancock, “a little disappointed.”

An employee of Golden Gate Ferry guards the door and does his best to answer questions when no ferry arrives at the predicted time on March 1, 2022. | Camille Cohen

But he understood that it was everyone’s first day.

“I guess they have kinks to work out,” Hancock said, as he departed the docks in search of the 25 bus. “But I have to say: This is the least complicated route. I can see the whole path from here, so … I hope it didn’t sink!”

Until Tuesday, the 25 bus was the only way to ride public transit between Treasure Island and the city. Operated by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the bus drops riders off at the Salesforce Transit Center in SoMa. 

Scheduling wasn’t the only first-day hiccup. Spotty cell service complicated the phone-based ticketing system, and missing signage in the ferry building led to some customers getting lost. Ultimately, only three people made it onto the ferry before 1:30 p.m. 

Despite the choppy execution, the ride itself was smooth sailing. Danielle Butler, a development manager at Treasure Island Development Company, called the scenic six-minute voyage “a game changer” for people whose work and homes are split between the two destinations. 

Danielle Butler, a development manager at Treasure Island Development Company, boards the 4:30 ferry back to San Francisco, where she lives. She said she’s excited to be seeing “the renderings come to life” on the island. | Camille Cohen
Camille Cohen can be reached at [email protected].
  • Hello, and thank you for your review of the new SF/TI ferry service.

    Three neighbors from the outer Richmond district, want to make the journey, via ferry, to Treasure Island’s “Mersea,” restaurant for lunch. Our projected date is this coming Friday, April 29th.

    I’m a bit unclear on where the ferry leaves from SF. My sense is that it’s from the Ferry Building. But, you mentioned a mis-signage on the first day, that lead to people getting lost.

    Of course, I can check with PROP SF, and/or the Ferry Building. But, I wonder if you have that information at hand.

    It’s been years since I’ve been to Treasure Island. And, I’m delighted that there is a ferry service available.

    Thank you,
    Caty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.