High fuel prices hits local ferries

July 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Soaring fuel costs are impacting public transit in the same way drivers are feeling the pinch. And tonight, the alameda city council decided commuters will need to share the burden and pay more to ride the ferry.

It now costs $550,000 more for the Alameda/oOakland and Harbor Bay ferries to cruise across the bay. In nearly a year and a half, the ferry's diesel fuel costs have increased from $2.17 to $4.29 a gallon.

"Staff does believe a fuel surcharge is needed at this time, otherwise we will have to use the balance of our reserves to offset the increase in fuel expenses," said Earnest Sanchez, the Oakland/Alameda Ferry manager.

At the Alameda City Council meeting, the council voted to increase the one-way fare between Alameda and Oakland line by 25 cents, and from the East Bay to San Francisco by 50 cents. Now a round trip to San Francisco and back will cost $13.

"That would be difficult to afford, but I imagine if it goes up that high my other options are going to be high too," said Bryana Schroder, a ferry commuter.

The Vallejo Baylink Ferry has already increased its one-way fare by an average of $1.82 and AC Transit has a $48 parcel tax on the November ballot to generate $14 million.

The ferry riders here will feel the increase on July 7th, but overall, some riders say it still beats driving.

"I work in the city and parking and gas combined is still way more than public transportation," said Jan Vornkahl, a ferry commuter.