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The Marin Fairy

Golden Gate Ferry Facts

The Golden Gate Ferry has a 99% customer satisfaction rating, and it's no wonder. It has smooth rides, amazing views with happy, friendly staff and a full bar. What's not to love?

What's not as well known is how the Golden Gate Ferry came to be and how its needs evolved over time.

Origins and Necessity

Before the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, ferries were the primary means of transportation between San Francisco and Marin County. The ferries were operated by various private companies.

Golden Gate Bridge Construction

The construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was completed in 1937, led to a decline in the ferry services as the bridge provided a more direct connection between San Francisco and Marin County. Between 1958 and 1962, no commuter ferry services were available anywhere in the bay.

Resumption of Service

The Golden Gate Ferry service was reintroduced in 1970 by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District. The reintroduction was driven by the growing need for alternative transportation methods to alleviate road congestion on the Golden Gate Bridge and provide a more environmentally friendly commuting option.

Expansion of Services

Over the years, the Golden Gate Ferry service expanded its routes and fleet to cater to the growing commuter demand. Key routes include the Larkspur to San Francisco route and the Sausalito to San Francisco route.


The ferries have seen various upgrades to improve efficiency, speed, and comfort for passengers. The fleet includes high-speed catamarans and larger vessels to accommodate the increasing number of passengers.

Environmental Initiatives

The Golden Gate Ferry has made strides in reducing its environmental impact. This includes measures to reduce emissions and fuel consumption, as well as initiatives to protect marine life in the bay.


Apart from being a vital commuter service, the Golden Gate Ferry has also become a popular choice for tourists. The ferry offers breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the San Francisco skyline.

Challenges and Future

Like many public transit systems, the Golden Gate Ferry has faced challenges, including funding issues, competition, and changing commuter patterns. However, with continued investment in its infrastructure and a commitment to sustainability, the ferry remains an integral part of the San Francisco Bay's transportation network.