All About the SF Bay Ferry

I’m typing this as I watch the sunrise over some Bay Area hills on the SF Bay Ferry. The sky is pink and lilac, or should I say rose quartz and serenity (the colors of the year for 2016). How fitting. I’ve been getting up before the crack of dawn every day to commute to my new job in San Francisco. It's been one week, so I think I'm an expert now. I’ve also seen the sunrise more times last week than I ever have in my life so I clearly really know what I'm talking about.

That being said, the commute is actually pretty relaxing and pleasant.  After my body gets used to waking up at 5:45, it might even become enjoyable.  It’s absolutely better than driving for two hours in traffic to get to the same destination. Although I don't want my 7am ferry to get overcrowded, I've prepared a pros and cons list and a step-by-step guide to assist anyone in their decision to take the ferry.

P R O S :

It is serene
Smooth ride -- I can actually read (or type up blog posts) without getting motion sickness
Port is a 10-minute drive from my house
Ferry Building is a 30-minute walk to my office
Wi-fi enabled
Snack bar with coffee and alcohol
Mostly quiet – phone calls are discouraged
Seeing parts of the Bay Area you don’t typically get to see
No hooligans (or significantly fewer hooligans at least)
Lots of leg room
Hearing people’s phone alarms go off because really why are we up this early?
Bike rack in the back

Aforementioned leg room.

C O N S :

Waiting in line (at commuting times at least)
Weather -- is frigid outside when you have to wait in line (I’m assuming this may change as the seasons change)
More expensive than BART
Only leaves each port approximately every hour
Wi-fi is questionable
Ferry terminal cashier doesn’t open until 6:45 which means you’ll be at the end of the line for the 7am ferry
Sitting backwards if you’re late
Finding a seat if you’re late
Asking people if seats with bags on them are taken if you’re late
You could easily be late – the ferry tends to leave right on time
Recognizing your ex-boyfriend standing 20 feet away from you and hoping he doesn’t register it’s you

Is there such a thing as too much leg room?

The ferry is a pretty easy commute to take in the morning, even though I was pretty nervous at first. Here’s an easy 15-step guide of how to best utilize this commute:

Step 1: Park or get dropped off at the ferry building 15 minutes before the boat is scheduled to depart.

Step 2: See a line of people and freak out that you aren’t going to make it on the boat.

Step 3: Wait in line at the cashier to buy your ticket/load your clipper card. Its $10.70 each way if you use a clipper card. If you don’t use a clipper card, you are just wasting money and I can’t help you.

Step 4: Wait in line to board the ferry.

Step 5: Scan your clipper card on the clipper poles. Check out your balance and notice that everyone else has way more money on their cards.

Step 6: Breathe a sigh of relief when you walk onto the ferry.

Step 7: Become overwhelmed with anxiety again when you realize you have to find a seat.

Step 8: Ask “Is this seat taken” and hopefully score a seat on your first try. Otherwise, ask about 3 more times.

Step 9: Don’t make the mistake I did for 4 days and not realize that there is an upper deck with more seats.

Step 10: Sit down and make yourself comfortable for the ~40 minute ride. I like to read, write posts, or listen to podcasts. Right now its WTF with Marc Maron and Babe? With Ryan O’Connell and Lara Marie.

Step 11: See the city get closer and closer.

Step 12: Listen to the PA voice that says don’t form a line to exit when the ferry approaches the city.

Step 13: Get up and form part of the line to the exit.

Step 14: Scan your clipper card off of the ferry. Forget to do this if you recognize your ex-boyfriend is also on the ferry.

Step 15: Breathe in the cool San Francisco air and walk to wherever you’re going.

I think that’s really all you need to know about the ferry. I’ve given much more information than necessary but this is the kind of thing I would have wanted to read before I started commuting. So you’re welcome.

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