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An open-air yellow boat is docked by a boardwalk in a body of water. The words "Captain Jack" are painted in black at the top of what appears to be the back of the boat.

New water taxi service will connect Alameda Landing to Jack London Square

on December 18, 2023

A new water taxi that takes riders between Alameda and Oakland will launch next year, Alameda city officials said.

The taxi, named Woodstock, will go between Alameda Landing to Jack London Square five days a week and at least one weekend day for nine to 12 hours a day. City officials said it will likely launch in May or June and run for two years as a pilot project. 

“There’s always been this desire to get people between Oakland and Alameda and across the Oakland estuary,” said Rochelle Wheeler, a senior transportation planner with Alameda. “We’ve known for a long time that we have this gap between the two cities.”

According to Alameda’s website, plans for the water shuttle began in 2009, but the city was unable to come up with the funding until 2022. Last year, the city said private businesses agreed to cover almost 75% of the $3 million total for the service. The remainder is covered by a grant of up to $1 million from the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Wheeler said the grant will cover operational costs such as the staff, fuel, and maintenance.

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority, under the San Francisco Bay Ferry brand, will operate the service, which will be free. The water taxi will make it easier to go from Alameda to Jack London Square in Oakland.

“I’m excited because the transportation options that are not car-related to get over to Jack London are pretty poor, you have to take two buses or try to walk through the tube,” said Robyn Hall, a scientist who lives in Alameda. 

Hall said that this new mode of transportation will encourage her to go to Jack London a lot more.

Bike East Bay, a  non-profit organization that promotes healthy, sustainable communities, has been involved with the development of the water shuttle as well as an Oakland-Alameda Estuary bridge project made for walking and biking. 

“We are also very excited about the launch of the free water taxi next spring, to provide a convenient crossing option at least part-time while the bridge planning continues to progress,” Robert Prinz, advocacy director at Bike East Bay, said in an email.

The boat is being modified for ADA accessibility and to ensure the service can accommodate passengers with bikes. Wheeler said once the boat has been modified, it will be put into the water to test out the service. The city will then determine the taxi’s schedule by timing how long it takes the boat to travel the 850 feet between destinations and how long it takes passengers to board and exit. 

(Top photo of a water taxi, courtesy of city of Alameda)

Ferry ridership climbing back to pre-pandemic levels, with patrons finding the service ‘pretty cool.’


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