PORT ORCHARD — When the Southworth passenger-only fast ferry departs for Pier 50 in downtown Seattle on its inaugural day of service on Monday, March 29, those onboard the vessel Enetai will enjoy their journey free of charge.
Under the auspices of Kitsap Transit, the third and final route of fast ferry service to be launched from Kitsap County to downtown Seattle will offer four trips in the morning and five trips returning to Southworth in the afternoon. The public can ride free of charge through the end of April, Kitsap Transit spokesman Sanjay Bhatt said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bhatt said Saturday sailings into and out of Southworth have been suspended for the summer. To reduce crowding at the Southworth terminal, capacity will be limited to 60 passengers each sailing.
John Clausen, Kitsap Transit’s executive director, said the agency is “thrilled” to launch the newest route authorized by the passage of a countywide ballot proposition by voters in 2016.
“We’re grateful to the voters of Kitsap County who gave us the go-ahead in 2016 to launch three fast-ferry routes to downtown Seattle,” Clausen said. “We are grateful to our partners at Washington State Ferries and King County Marine Division.”
When regular Southworth fast ferry service begins, Kitsap Transit will not have a dedicated spare vessel to deploy in the event a scheduled sailing is canceled, the agency said in a news release. “Riders are strongly encouraged to have a backup plan and subscribe to Kitsap Transit’s Southworth-Seattle rider alerts for notices of sailing cancellations or delays,” the agency reported.
Although Kitsap Transit recently purchased the vessel Solano as a spare, it is still in California and needs to be refurbished in dry dock before it can become available as a backup. Kitsap Transit’s second bow-loader vessel, M/V Commander, is under construction.
With new striping completed last week, a new bus staging area for drop-offs and pickups has been established at the Southworth terminal’s parking area. Last week, the agency increased the number of routed bus trips to the ferry terminal in preparation for the start of the fast-ferry service. One new route included will be Route 184-Harper Shuttle that operates during commute hours between the Harper Church Park & Ride and the ferry terminal.
For South Kitsap residents who don’t live near a routed bus stop, Kitsap Transit also is launching a demand-responsive service similar to one operating in the Kingston area. The Southworth Ride Fast Ferry Commuter shared-ride service will transport customers from their neighborhood to the Southworth ferry terminal on a reservations basis. To learn whether the service is available in your area and to register in advance, call 1-844-475-7433 or visit KitsapTransit.com.
Here are the scheduled sailings on weekdays for the Southworth-Pier 50 Downtown Seattle service:
Southworth to Seattle (eastbound)
Depart Southworth Dock:
5:10 a.m.; 6:20; 7:35; 8:45; 3:30 p.m.; 4:40; 5:45; 6:45.
Arrive Pier 50 Seattle Ferry Dock:
5:36 a.m.; 6:46; 8:01; 9:11; 3:56 p.m.; 5:06; 6:06; 7:11.
Seattle to Southworth (westbound)
Depart Pier 50 Seattle Ferry Dock:
5:45 a.m.; 6:55; 8:10; 2:55 p.m.; 4:05; 5:15; 6:15; 7:15.
Arrive Southworth Dock:
6:11 a.m.; 7:26; 8:36; 3:21 p.m.; 4:31; 5:41; 6:41; 7:41.