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New SF Bay ferry service set to launch

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POSTED June 3, 2012 9:33 p.m.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO . (AP) — Commuters on both sides of San Francisco Bay will have another option to get across the bay when a new ferry route begins running Monday.

When the new service between South San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda launches it will be the first ferry run introduced since the Alameda Harbor Bay to San Francisco line opened in March 1992, officials said.

Passengers will ride for free the first week as part of plan to create interest in the new route, according to officials with the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, the agency that operates all but the Golden Gate ferry routes across San Francisco Bay.

After the first week, one-way fares for the 40-minute trip will be $7.

The San Mateo Times reports that the agency spent $25.3 million to build the new South San Francisco terminal and about $30,000 for upgrades at its East Bay facilities.

The agency also paid another $16 million for the two new 149-passenger boats, which are equipped with wireless internet and space for 30 bikes, according to the newspaper.

Preparations for the new ferry service were expected to be finished about two years ago, but authority Executive Director Nina Rannells said the service couldn't launch until funding and approval issues were finalized.

"That all took time," Rannells said. "Building on the Bay is a very complicated process."

The first day of service is looking more promising than had been expected, according to Rannells.

"We were hoping for 50 people and we have had over 300 RSVPs," Rannells said. "People down there are excited."

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