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As business activity has picked up around the Bay Area, so has ferryboat traffic on the bay.

Today, even as many people continue to work from home, more ferries are running to and from San Francisco than at any time in recent history. Passenger traffic on the boats has steadily grown in recent months, helped in part by temporary cuts in fares. Are ferries a meaningful alternative to cars? Can they help make a real dent in the Bay Area’s commuter woes? The Water Emergency Transportation Authority, the largest agency responsible for ferry traffic on the bay, clearly thinks so.

At noon on Friday, Sept. 10, you can join the chair of the WETA Board of Directors for an hour-long live chat at LocalNewsMatters.org. He comes prepared to discuss ambitious plans for more ferry traffic in the bay, as well as the state of the Bay Area business community and Bay Area Council’s many initiatives.

Currently, WETA runs ferries from San Francisco to South San Francisco, Alameda, Harbor Bay Isle, Oakland, Richmond and Vallejo. The agency has ambitious plans for additional expansion in the coming months and years. Added lines are envisioned connecting the city to new ports in Mission Bay, Redwood City, Treasure Island and more — including potentially to cities on the Sacramento River Delta.

Plans to expand ferry traffic have been in the works for some time, but the process has greatly accelerated since Governer Newsom appointed Jim Wunderman chair of the WETA Board of Directors. 

Wunderman has a long history of leadership in political, civic and business organizations, most notably as the current president of the Bay Area Council. In that role, he has expanded the Council to include more than 325 member companies. The Council is an important political force, having partnered in numerous ballot measures, and today it is helping to assess how the Bay Area business community can best absorb the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.