Estuary Water Shuttle

A new Estuary crossing

A new water shuttle service is being planned by a partnership of public and private organizations and agencies, including the City of Alameda. It would start as a limited service, with the opportunity to grow over time. The current vision is for the water shuttle to travel between the foot of Fifth Street in Alameda and the foot of Broadway in Oakland, possibly with midday lunchtime service to Marina Village. As of May 2023, grant funding, matched with private and public funds, has been secured for a two-year pilot, which should begin in Spring 2024. Unfortunately, a summer 2023 three-month initial pilot was ultimately deemed infeasible.  

At this time, it's anticipated that the service would:

  • Be free
  • Accommodate bicycles
  • Operate 4-5 days per week, for 9-12 hours per day, depending on funding and season

Map of Proposed Water Shuttle service (click on map for a wider image):

Map - close up - of proposed water shuttle service(PDF, 863KB)  

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We've already collected over 2,300 responses and summarized them here(PDF, 139KB), but we're keeping the survey open to hear from more folks! 

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This new water shuttle service is being developed and supported by a growing team of agencies and organizations, including the City of Alameda, Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), Jack London Square Property Management Company (CIM Group), Jack London Square Improvement District, Blue Rise Ventures (the owners of the Marina Village Business and Research Park), Alameda Transportation Management Association, and the City of Oakland. 

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Keep in touch to hear about planning and future service on the estuary! 

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Aerial view of estuary looking west

Planning Background

The need for an easy way to connect Oakland and Alameda across the Oakland Estuary has existed for many years. In the early 2000s, the Alameda Oakland Bike Ferry service operated for several years (see newsletter insert below). 

In 2009, the City developed a comprehensive Estuary Crossing Final Feasibility Study Report(PDF, 6MB) to analyze and evaluate all of the potential strategies for crossing the Estuary either by foot, bike or transit. Seventeen (17) different crossing options were studied, including a gondola, different bridge types, Posey/Webster Tubes enhancements, water shuttle services and a new transit tube. Solutions for the near-, mid-, and long-term were explored. The top recommended, mid-term option was determined to be a water shuttle service.

Since then, the City has been working to create a partnership to fund and operate a free public water shuttle service for Alameda and Oakland, and recently the pieces for this shuttle service have come together, with a high level of private sector interest and tentative financial commitments of up to 75% of operations funding. WETA has also agreed to administer a pilot program, which would be operated by WETA or a contractor to WETA. Cost estimates are being developed, but the tentative projected operating costs for a five-day service of 9-12 hours per day is estimated to be between $1.5 million to $2.0 million annually.


Newsletter clipping about previous water taxi in 2004



All of the partners are working hard to implement a two-year pilot, beginning in Spring 2024. Unfortunately, after working for many months on it, a summer 2023 three-month initial pilot was ultimately deemed infeasible.