To the Editor:
After a major earthquake, highways and transit will be unusable due in large part to liquefaction and collapse of structures. The main forms of transportation will be walking, bicycles (which can be lifted over obstructions) and ferries. Fires in the cities may require mass evacuation. Planning now is needed to reduce the suffering and confusion when it happens.
For those reasons, the availability of ferries is essential. A number of functioning ferries should be already in place and ready when needed. Landing piers at key locations should ready with at least minimum bus service right now. Whether those buses will actually be able to be used immediately after a quake is incidental, as clearing the bus routes connecting with the ferries should take top priority for people to escape. Piers should be built even in locations where ferry service is not currently provided.
The more use of ferries that we can make now the better, and whether they make money is incidental to having them available when needed. The expansion of an existing basic ferry system and bus connections will be much simpler than starting from scratch during the turmoil after a big quake.