WETA Names New Executive Director, Releases Study to Bring Hovercraft Services to the Bay

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The Bay Area Council is thrilled to congratulate Seamus Murphy on his appointment as the new Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA). Executive Director Murphy brings his experience and knowledge of the region to the job, after serving as Chief Communications Officer for the San Mateo County Transit District (District), which operates Caltrain and SamTrans transit services.

“We’re thrilled to introduce Seamus Murphy as our next executive director,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council and Chair of the WETA Board of Directors. “As a Board we prioritized experience in transit leadership, a collaborative and innovative spirit and a strong interest in building relationships. WETA has built the foundation of a world-class ferry system for the Bay Area, and I’m confident that in the coming years Seamus will help us realize that vision.”

The Bay Area Council would like to thank outgoing Executive Director Nina Rannells. Rannells has been WETA’s executive director since 2009 and has a 30-year career in Bay Area transportation including roles at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. She has overseen the expansion and rapid growth of the WETA and we are sad to see her go.

Please join us in congratulating Seamus and we look forward to hosting him at a Water Transit Committee meeting in the new year. Read the full statement>>

This news follows WETA’s release of a much-anticipated Hovercraft Feasibility Study this week prepared by AECOM that explores whether hovercraft is a viable option for expanding water transit options in the Bay Area. The Council has long championed deploying hovercraft services on the bay. Due to shallow depths, vast parts of the region were previously unreachable by water transit, including much of Silicon Valley. Hovercraft can open a new, environmentally sensitive option up to locations beset by some of the worst traffic in the country, as well as provide emergency evacuation services.

The study was the result of a request made in early 2019 by Wunderman and considers 12 possible routes for WETA’s consideration as contenders for launching this new service. The Bay Area Council has worked closely with our member companies who are located in ideal sites to utilize hovercraft services and has received much enthusiasm and support for the deployment of this service among these communities.

“The benefits hovercraft can provide our region by expanding much-needed water transit to areas where shallow waters and environmental issues prevent larger ferry boats from traveling are limitless.” said Wunderman. “Hovercraft ferries are run all over the world, especially in Europe. The time is now for the Bay Area.”

Read our full statement and access the feasibility study>>

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