water transit agency unveils new emergency response plan
When the Loma Prieta earthquake knocked out the Bay Bridge in 1989, ferries motored to the rescue. As the Bay Area’s designated agency in charge of coordinating all water transit response in times of catastrophe, the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), also known as SF Bay Ferry, responded. The 6,800 passengers that left their cars behind to travel by ferry during the peak commute was equivalent to the number that would occupy three lanes of the Oakland-SF span during a full hour. Highlighting the vital role that ferries play in keeping the region’s transportation system and economy moving during disasters, the WETA Board on Tuesday (March 8) adopted an updated emergency response plan that also outlines how ferries will help in the immediate aftermath by transporting rescue workers and helping move the injured.
“Ferries will provide vital transportation for first responders, disaster service workers and survivors after a regional seismic event,” said Nina Rannells, executive director of WETA. “The adoption of an update to WETA’s Emergency Response Plan marks an important step forward in defining WETA’s role in response to a regional disaster and identifies action items that WETA can and will act on now in anticipation of a regional emergency.”
Expanding water transit service is among the Bay Area Council’s lead policy priorities and we are working closely with WETA to support its plans for adding capacity between the East Bay and San Francisco and creating new connections to Silicon Valley and the South Bay. Those additional connections would prove valuable in further expanding the role of ferries in times of emergency. To engage in our water transit policy work, please contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.