Transportation

Ferries have long history on the bay, MTC helps sustain today

A black and white vintage photo of a ferry cruising on water with the words SAN RAFAEL on the side, possibly from the 1930s.

There are robust ferry services on San Francisco Bay today, but like the tides, there has been an ebb and flow over the years.

In 1921, the three largest ferry operators carried almost 50 million passengers across the bay. But after the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges went up in the late 1930s, ferry service dropped, and by 1958 commuter ferries were gone.

But as car traffic began to grow around the region, plans were hatched a plan to reintroduce service in the late 1960s, with the Golden Gate Highway and Transportation District establishing commuter ferry service in 1970.

MTC distributes funding that is used to maintain fleets, docks, and terminals and to expand service to new terminals.