Fifty cents to cross a bay

 

Ferry, possibly crossing the Eel River

Ferry, possibly crossing the Eel River

In October of  1854, the county supervisors approved the petition by Heammon and Marvel to establish a ferry crossing Humboldt Bay.  The partners needed to pay the county $5 for the privilege, follow Section 16 of the Act  Concerning Public Ferries and Bridges and get a bond of $1,000.

The men were also required to have at least two boats, one large and one small, and at least two “hands”, meaning two men and literally four hands, I’m guessing.

As licensed ferrymen, they could charge foot passengers  fifty cents and could demand $2 for anyone wanting to cross the bay with a horse, mule, ox, cow, hog or other animal .

Anyone wanting to get from Eureka to Arcata was pretty much stuck taking the ferry, as there was no reliable trail and the wagon road that would eventually follow along Old Arcata Road wasn’t built yet.  The ferry dropped passengers off near the present location of Fairhaven, and they hoofed it (ha, ha), to Union/Arcata from there.

When the Golden Gate Bridge opened to the public in 1937, the toll was 50 cents to cross the San Francisco Bay, the same as the ferry crossing Humboldt Bay 80 years prior.   Shoot, they even dropped the cost  in San Francisco at various times, though we don’t pay a cent to go anywhere in our county today…

 

Date Toll
May 23, 1937 50 cents each way, $1 roundtrip, with a 5 cent charge if more than three passengers
July 1, 1950 40 cents each way
February 1, 1955 30 cents each way
October 1, 1955 25 cents each way
October 19, 1968 50 cents southbound toll, free northbound
March 1, 1974 75 cents southbound toll, free northbound
November 1, 1977 $1 southbound toll, free northbound
March 1, 1981 $1.25 southbound toll, free northbound
December 1, 1981 $2 southbound toll on Fridays and Saturdays, $1 on all other days, free northbound
January 1, 1989 $2 southbound toll seven days per week, with a 38% discount available when purchasing a book of 16 tickets for $20 (effective toll of $1.25), free northbound
June 11, 1989 $2 southbound toll seven days per week with a 17% discount available when purchasing a book of 12 tickets for $20 (effective toll $1.66), free northbound
July 1, 1991 $3 southbound toll seven days per week, with a 26% discount available when purchasing either a book of 9 tickets for $20 or a book of 18 tickets for $40 (effective toll $2.22), free northbound
July 1, 1992 $3 southbound toll seven days per week, with a 17% discount available when purchasing either a book of 8 tickets for $20 or a book of 16 tickets for $40 (effective toll $2.50), free northbound
July 1, 1995 $3 southbound toll seven days per week, with an 11% discount available when purchasing a book of 15 tickets for $40 (effective toll $2.67), free northbound
July 13, 2000 $3 southbound toll seven days per week, with an 11% discount available when using a book of 15 tickets for $40 (effective toll $2.67) or FasTrak electronic toll; free northbound
November 15, 2000 $3 southbound toll seven days per week, with an 11% discount available when using FasTrak electronic toll (effective toll $2.67); free northbound
July 1, 2001 $1.50 per axle
September 1, 2002 For two-axle vehicles: $5.00 cash toll; $4.00 FasTrak. Toll for multi-axle vehicles is $2.50 per axle
September 2, 2008 For two-axle vehicles: $6.00 cash toll; $5.00 FasTrak. For multi-axle vehicles, the cash toll is $3.00 per axle and the FasTrak toll is $2.50 per axle
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