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Private Ferry Service Coming to Martinez Marina

Jun 01, 2016 06:00PM ● By Jennifer Neys

The City of Martinez and Prop SF, a private charter business out of Alameda, have been in discussion regarding the potential for Prop SF to operate a private ferry service out of the Martinez Marina. The ferry service would involve the private charter of two Catamaran vessels; each is equipped to transfer 49 people from the guest dock of the Martinez marina to San Francisco and back. In addition to the use of the guest dock, Prop SF has requested a non‐exclusive right to use up to 50 parking spaces in the public parking areas between the hours of 5am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.  The initial term of this agreement would be from August 1, 2016 to August 1, 2021.  

Prop SF would not provide compensation to the city or Almar Marina Management (the private operator of the Marina) for use of the guest dock during this initial charter phase of operations. They have, however, agreed to construct a simple upgrade of the handrail to the dock in order to allow safe use of the guest dock for these purposes.   

On May 4, city council approved authorizing the interim city manager and city attorney to prepare an access agreement with Prop SF and Almar to allow use of the Martinez Marina guest dock and a portion of the parking area for the private charter ferry by Prop SF. Staff will bring a final agreement back to the council for formal approval on June 1.

Establishment of this ferry service could provide economic development opportunities for the city and the downtown area. If a demand for the service is demonstrated, more conversations on expanded service to the public and funding for a ferry terminal and other infrastructure improvements would be forthcoming. Mayor Schroder addressed Prop SF’s founder and CEO James Jaber at the May city council meeting and expressed, “I’m really excited about this. I think it is something this city has been looking for for many years. Even though this is going to be a private operation to begin with, you have visions of it growing and becoming more public. You are really filling a gap that water emergency transit authority is not willing to fill at this point or can. I think it’s a great thing for the City of Martinez, and it has tons of potential to help us revitalize our waterfront and downtown.”  Councilmember Mark Ross was equally enthusiastic and added, “Martinez has to start becoming the city that CAN do things and not the city that CAN’T do things, and this is an opportunity to bolster that.” 


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