Washington State Ferries to extend winter sailings

Washington State Ferries has delayed its transition to a spring season schedule for the foreseeable future. Ferries will continue to operate on winter sailing schedules through at least June 20.

Increased spring service was previously rescheduled to being April 26.

Locally, this affects the Southworth ferry to West Seattle and Vashon Island. The spring schedule adds a third vessel on the weekend. The Bremerton to Seattle and Bainbridge to Seattle sailings are also still operating on reduced schedules.

“We know schedule changes affect many people and we don’t make these decisions lightly,” said Amy Scarton, head of Washington State Ferries, in a press release. “But following discussions with health authorities and state officials, we had to make this difficult decision in order to help slow the spread of the virus while still preserving some service options.”

Ridership has dropped significantly, about 75 percent, compared to the last week of February. Walk-on passengers are down 90 percent and the number of vehicles boarding is down 65 percent, according to the release.

Reservations previously made for the Anacortes to the San Juan Islands route from April 26 through June 20 will be canceled, as has been the release of reservations for the summer season on this route. No-show fees have been waived until further notice.