Transportation

WETA launches high-speed ferry

MV Dorado Ferry
Photo courtesy SF Bay Ferry

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) has a new high-speed ferry plying the waters of the bay: the MV Dorado.

MV Dorado carries 320 passengers and will enter service in the coming weeks. WETA plans to rotate the vessel among its routes to collect operational data and allow passengers across the ferry system to experience the boat.

The MV Dorado:

  • Is the fastest vessel in WETA’s fleet with a service speed of 36 knots.
  • Is the first boat built for WETA that can safely dock at any of the system’s 12 ferry terminals.
  • Has expansive outdoor passenger space to allow more riders to experience a fresh-air trip across the Bay.

“The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has long identified the San Francisco Bay Ferry service as an important regional priority,” said MTC Chair and Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza, who spoke at an event last week welcoming the ferry. “With the launch of the Dorado, WETA is making a great service even better.”

MV Dorado was built by Mavrik Marine in La Conner, Wash. Construction on the second vessel in the Dorado class, MV Delphinus, is underway. Four boats are planned for the vessel class. WETA is expected to begin work on the agency’s first two zero-emission passenger ferries this year.

San Francisco Bay Ferry was the fastest growing transit operator in the region prior to the pandemic, with more than 3 million passengers in 2019. Between 2012 and 2019, ridership on the system doubled.

Under WETA’s Pandemic Recovery Program, which took effect in July 2021, ferry ridership is steadily growing. The Program decreased fares 30 percent across the system and enhanced service to provide more flexibility for riders. In April, ridership on San Francisco Bay Ferry reached 55 percent of pre-pandemic levels, outpacing comparable regional agencies.

WETA and MTC are transportation partners.