WSF releases summer sailing schedule

Temporary changes aim to alleviate overloaded Mukilteo-Clinton ferry route
By Nicholas Johnson | Apr 26, 2017

Washington State Ferries (WSF) has released its adjusted summer sailing schedule for the Mukilteo-Clinton route after collecting input from riders.

The temporary schedule, which takes effect June 25 and runs for six months through fall 2017, increases afternoon loading and unloading times, but does not cut the number of daily sailings.

The route was designed so that two 124-car Issaquah class ferries could depart almost every half hour during peak periods of the day.

Since those ferries were replaced with the 144-car Tokitae class ferries in 2014, ferries have consistently been departing late, resulting in delays.

In March, WSF held an open house in Clinton and reached out to riders onboard the Kittitas and Tokitae ferries, receiving 49 comments after speaking with more than 200 people.

Based on those comments, WSF adjusted its proposed schedule to better accommodate local transit riders and the operations of ferry crew.

One person commented, “My main concern with the schedule change is that it be coordinated with Island Transit, so that the bus number 7 does not leave before the ferry arrives.”

Another person commented, “Are these changes being coordinated with Island Transit, Community Transit and the Sounder Train so that people can make bus and train connections without added layovers?”

WSF got feedback that people who connect with Everett Transit in Mukilteo in the afternoon could incur up to an hour of extra travel time. To accommodate this, WSF adjusted the proposed schedule to give the reverse commuters extra time.

Additionally, WSF coordinated with private organizations using the ferries, including Nichol’s Brothers Boat Builders, Boeing and Whidbey-Seatac shuttle service.

Many people said the traffic light in Mukilteo is why loading and unloading can take too long.

One person commented, “The reason for the deteriorating on time performance is the Mukilteo traffic light at the ferry. It interrupts loading and unloading way too many times it should only change to allow cross traffic once in the middle of loading and unloading.”

WSF officials say they believe the new ferry terminal coming to Mukilteo, as well as a second 144-car vessel coming to the route, will address those issues.

Soon, WSF plans to begin an update to the Washington State Ferries long range plan, in which it expects to consider adding a third vessel to the route, based on rider feedback.

WSF will monitor the new schedule in a six-month pilot project through fall 2017, at which time the schedule would be re-evaluated.

Find the schedule and more information at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/outreach/mukilteo-clinton-schedule-changes.

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