Transportation

Bay Crossings' Jon D’Agostin helps keep the Bay Area moving

Bay Crossings
Jose Rojas photo

When commuters and others need help with travel they turn to Jon D’Agostin, store manager at Bay Crossings inside the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The ferry ticket shop and ferry and tour information center was forced to close because of the pandemic, but D’Agostin has since returned and is again assisting travelers, helping keep the Bay Area moving in this challenging time. The Bay Link conducted a Q&A with D’Agostin:

Q: How long were you closed at the Ferry Building? When did you re-open?

A: We closed when the San Francisco shelter in place order first took effect on March 17th, and re-opened on April 27th. For now we are operating under very limited capacity only providing in-person Clipper customer service and selling ferry tickets. The biggest hurdle for all businesses has been figuring out how to safely operate and follow all of the health and safety guidelines. All of a sudden you have to scrutinize every little thing that goes on like what order you touch things during a transaction and how to effectively communicate behind a barrier and with a mask covering your mouth. It has been inspirational seeing how other businesses around the city and the Ferry Building have adapted.

Q: Were people happy to see you back?

A: For about the first hour or so of being open I was worried nobody was going to come by. But since then we have helped a small but steady stream of people. They have been happy to see us back especially essential workers in the area that use public transportation. Slowly, as more businesses begin to open up we are seeing more foot traffic. Far from normal levels of course but also not the ghost town I saw the first few weeks after we closed up.

Q: What do you like most about the work?

A: I've always been a huge advocate for public transportation. One of the reasons I moved to San Francisco was not needing to own a car. So it's great to work somewhere that aligns with my ideals. There is always something interesting going on too like the wild times during Super Bowl 50. And of course working on the picturesque waterfront doesn't hurt either.

Q: What’s one of the more satisfying experience you have had there?

A: The most satisfying experience I can think of happened quite recently, a week or two after we re-opened. A senior came by to get a replacement for his lost discount Clipper card. At the time we were the only place open to get a replacement card without waiting to get it in the mail. After I replaced the card for him he was so happy and told me that now he would be able to pick up his free daily meals from the food bank. It was such a great reminder that some people rely on public transportation to survive, and it makes me happy to know that we are helping the system work for people from all walks of life.

Q: Are people still excited about traveling?

A: Since re-opening we are asked daily if there are any ferries to take on a little adventure, especially on the weekends. For now we must disappoint them with the news that the ferries are only running for the morning and evening weekday commute. It definitely seems like people are excited and itching to travel. Fortunately we have all sorts of fun and diverse activities in the bay area, and my optimistic hunch is that a lot more locals will be going on day trips in the area. Taking a ferry ride is one of the classic activities I hear people say they have lived here forever and never done, and afterward they are hooked. I love the notion that this is the year for Californians to explore their state, so why not also be the year for those living here to rediscover San Francisco and the bay.

More information on Bay Crossings can be found here.

 

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