It looks like the Legislature plans to keep our current ferry service. The debate is about two issues: which ferries to buy and fares.
The Legislature’s consultant has recommended building four 65-car ferries now and delaying 144-car ferries in 2023. WSF and the Plan “C” proponents want one or two small ferries now, and to start building 144-car ferries ASAP.
WSF wants a 2½ percent per year fare increase and an 80 percent farebox recovery rate. Our dastardly Transportation Commission wants 4 percent per year for nine years then 2 ½ percent per year after that for a 100 percent recovery rate. The Commission also wants a “super summer” surcharge that will add 15 percent to our 25 percent summer surcharge during July and August. Both the Commission and WSF want the fuel surcharge that we described last month and to continue frequent user fares.
Containing fare increases is an uphill fight as the Commission decides fares and Bremerton’s Ferry Advisory Committee is supporting them. We need the Legislature to step in and mandate WSF’s proposed 2½ percent per year increases until an 80 percent system recovery rate is reached. E-mail or write the governor and all the legislators you can. Plead, cajole and tell them how much the increases will hurt … and perhaps have a word with our Bremerton friends. Go to ferrywatch.org for contact info or call us at (360) 297-2845.
WSF’s Operations Director met with us. Not only did we learn about our ferries, but also we left with the feeling that he and other WSF people are riders themselves and are committed to a high quality system.
Keeping on schedule:
Minimizing a ferry’s “dwell time” at the terminal is the key to keeping on schedule. Eighty trains per day in Edmonds complicates this issue. Ferries may stop loading two minutes before the scheduled departure to ensure the boat leaves on time. You may also see the boat pushing off from Edmonds only 80 percent loaded. That happens when a second boat is already waiting off the ferry dock. By shoving the first boat off, the second ferry can get back on schedule.
The USCG’s elimination of “touring watches” will change our schedules. On touring watches, crews sleep on board some shifts, and eliminating the watches creates scheduling problems. WSF and the unions are figuring out how to adjust work and ferry schedules. Stay tuned.
Hood Canal Bridge closure
Starting in May, Sunday through Thursday, the 8:40 p.m. Edmonds boat will go to Port Townsend and leave PT for Edmonds at 10:40 p.m. Phone reservations will be required. A free passenger ferry will shuttle between South Point and Lofall from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Busses will run from the ferry landing to Kingston, Silverdale, Bainbridge, Port Townsend and Port Angeles. Go to the WSDOT website for details.
Community and Kitsap Transit busses often depart before ferry passengers can get to them. Let us know of problems that you’re having so we can write to them.
The left hand booth shifts to pre-ticketed cars during busy times. It’s posted in the electronic sign. At those times the booth operator can’t do ticket sales so if you don’t have a ticket you need to be in another line.
During loading, cars are held at the booth for safety reasons. Otherwise the lot should be fully used. If not report the time and date to us or WSF. WSF will check the cameras and fix the problem.
FACs escapes legislative extinction.
Why? Perhaps it has to do with keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.