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Last days for the Bay ferries?

The East Bay ferries put into service when the October earthquake closed the Bay Bridge are expected to continue running at least through February (and perhaps longer), but service could be discontinued at any time if funding isn't approved. As well as being a great way to commute, they're a romantic, old-fashioned way to see the East Bay. Before planning a trip, though, call Red & White Fleet's recorded schedule at (800) 445-8880 inside California, (415) 546-2628 outside.

Immediately after the quake, boats were rushed from Catalina Island and Puget Sound to pitch in with new transbay routes from San Francisco to Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, and Richmond.

Seeing the ferries docked each night at the foot of San Francisco's Market Street is like turning the clock back 50 years.

Some groups are lobbying to make the four new routes permanent. For information, call Bay Organization for Aquatic Transit (BOAT) at (415) 832-2628.

Ferries listed here run daily, departing from San Francisco's Ferry Building. All offer full snack and beverage bars. On all but the Vallejo ferry, fares are $2.50 one way, free for ages under 6, and bikes are free, space permitting.

To Oakland. Ride either the 750-passenger Catalina Monarch or Empress, identical diesel-engine, monohull craft scheduled to return to their Catalina routes after June. They have three decks-two enclosed-as well as televisions for scanning news and traffic reports.

The 30-minute trip chugs you past Yerba Buena Island, the Oakland shipyards, and along the estuary (some trips include a stop in Alameda). Ferries dock at Jack London Waterfront, formerly called Jack London Square-partially renovated with restaurants and a new 1 1/2-mile path along the water; shops (many still unoccupied) and a fishing dock are nearby.

To Alameda. Ride either the Catalina Empress or Monarch. The 30-minute trip follows a route similar to the Oakland ferries'. Boats dock at the Todd Shipyards, 2900 Main Street, near the Alameda Naval Air Station. The dock was built by the Army Corps of Engineers practically overnight after the quake.

To Berkeley. The 350-passenger Old Blue, from the Blue & Gold Fleet, has one open deck, a half-enclosed second deck, and an enclosed lower deck. In 50 minutes, the ship sails past Treasure Island to the Berkeley Marina and docks at the foot of University Avenue. Nearby are restaurants, the Cal Sailing Club, and a short walking path that takes you to Shorebird Park or around to Horseshoe Park (both offer good kite flying and picnicking). To Richmond. Take the 350-passenger Royal Prince, newly remodeled with framed watercolors on the walls of its two enclosed decks; there's also an outside deck. The 50-minute trip eases south of Angel Island and into the north bay before docking at a container terminal at the end of Harbor Way S.

News on the Vallejo Ferry

This long-standing ferry service, which expanded its schedule after the earthquake, cuts back to six trips daily in March and also returns to its regular vessel, the sleek catamaran Dolphin. Departing from Pier 1 at the Ferry Building or Pier 41 at Fisherman's Wharf check schedule), it passes Angel Island and beneath the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in just under an hour. Round-trip is $13.90, $10.90 seniors, $6 ages 4 through 12. A special fare available from San Francisco includes admission and bus transfer to Marine World/Africa USA.

Weekends, the ferry stops at Angel Island State Park-a wildlife preserve great for picnicking, cycling, and hiking. Round-trip fare from Vallejo is $9.45, $5.45 ages 4 through 12; from San Francisco (bikes allowed), it's $7.10, $4.05.
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Title Annotation:East Bay ferries
Publication:Sunset
Date:Mar 1, 1990
Words:597
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