When to launch Southworth’s fast ferry? Kitsap Transit wants to know

Agency is surveying residents who plan to use the route

PORT ORCHARD — Kitsap Transit recently took delivery of the vessel Enetai, which will travel on the passenger-only fast ferry route between Southworth and downtown Seattle.

But just when hasn’t yet been determined. The agency says it doesn’t yet have a delivery date for Enetai’s sister vessel, Commander, although it is hoping to receive possession sometime in the first quarter 2021. Officials said the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted Commander’s construction schedule and may shift completion to a later timeframe.

Kitsap Transit has started a community survey for residents to consider if they would use the Southworth route in 2020 even though it could be susceptible to disruption should Enetai break down. If that were to take place, commuters would need to find alternative ways for travel, including the Washington State Ferries or the King County Water Taxi.

If residents want Kitsap Transit to have a spare vessel before launching the Southworth fast ferry service, the agency said it would wait to begin service until it receives delivery of Commander and has trained crews to operate it.

In that scenario, if Enetai breaks down, Commander — to be the Kingston route’s primary carrier — will take over temporarily as the primary vessel operating the Southworth-Seattle route. Vessel Finest would operate the Kingston route until the bow loader is back in service.

The survey is accessible at https://tinyurl.com/y26o35xw.