Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District: Rich in Transportation History & Innovation

The Golden Gate Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District [GGBHTD] was born in 1969 with Assembly Bill 584 authorization and the Golden Gate Ferry service between San Francisco and Sausalito launched in August, 1070. This was followed by the Golden Gate Transit bus service which began operations in 1972.

The GGBHTD has an impressive history of innovation and effective leadership. Under Bridge Board direction, the District is currently managed by Denis Mulligan. Mr. Mulligan was the District’s Chief Engineer from 2001 to 2010 and since 2010 has been its General Manager. Among the District’s many noteworthy accomplishments are the following:

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  • One-way toll collection
  • Exceptionally well run bus and ferryboat services
  • Seismic retrofit of the bridge and its approach viaducts with little if any traffic disruption
  • First major bridge in USA to implement all electronic toll collection
  • Automated moveable median barrier installed to shift peak directional lane use
  • Development of District’s unique Suicide Deterrent Net System
  • Vigorous and expeditious response to the current COVID-19 crisis

Multi-Modal Transit Operation:  Collectively, the District’s Bridge, bus and ferry operations earned nearly $183 million in FY2018 toll and passenger revenues. The three segments of its multi modal operation serve over 45 million annual travelers in the Highway 101 corridor including the Bridge. This was accomplished with just over 821 employees in 2018 – 179 Bridge employees, 280 bus employees and 98 ferry employees, indicative of a remarkably efficient organization. In FY 2018 District buses carried 3.159 million passengers and its ferries served 2.578 million riders. Over 40 million vehicles traversed the Golden Gate Bridge in 2018.

Golden Gate Transit and Ferry Metrics:  Comparison statistics for four major Bay Area bus systems and the District’s ferry boat system are shown in the table below.

From the FY2018 National Transit Database

As indicated in the table, the Golden Gate bus and ferry services are the smallest transit systems shown, serving total of 5.73 million riders a year.  The District’s systems both have much longer average trip lengths than those of the other three systems shown in the table, resulting in higher operating costs per rider.  However the District’s buses recover almost twice as much of these operating costs from the farebox as the other systems and a remarkable 69.3% of operating costs from the ferry operation.  In sum the GGBHT District’ bus and ferryboat systems are well-coordinated and highly efficient. 

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