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Open Access Publications from the University of California

East Bay Ferry Service and the Loma Prieta Earthquake

  • Author(s): Hansen, Mark
  • Weinstein, Sharon
  • et al.

Ferry service between the East Bay and San Francisco is one of the most tangible, in the view of some most positive, legacies of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Begun as an emergency measure within hours of the event, the service has continued in one form or another through the time of this writing, and in the current political climate is likely to continue indefinitely.

Several studies of East Bay ferry service have been carried out over the past decade. These have probed the demand for and costs of ferry service, and developed plans for incorporating it into the Bay Area's transport system. This paper has a different objective -- to narrate and analyze the events surrounding the birth of the ferry service and its transformation from an emergency response to a seemingly permanent fixture.

The investigation consisted of two parts. Supply side developments were followed through systematic reading of pertinent media stories and analysis of fares and schedules. Section 2 discusses this aspect of the research. Demand for ferry service was tracked through a series of three passenger surveys, results of which are discussed in Section 3. Section 4 offers conclusions.

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