The Commute

An informative and entertaining discussion on our ferries and highways with Kitsap Sun reporters.
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Archive for February, 2008

Sorry For Problems; Fixes Coming Next Week

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Our blog server has recently been overloaded by spammers. We expect to have
a fix in place in the next week. The comment function of Kitsap Sun blogs
will go on and off until then. We apologize for this inconvenience and ask
that you please be patient with us until that function is properly working

46 Percent of PO Households Have Transponders

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

The DOT packet explaining its new contract with tolling vendor TransCore contained some interesting numbers. Among them were the percentage of households with transponders by geographic area.
Not surprisingly, Gig Harbor comes in highest at 96 percent with Port Orchard second at 46 percent, Silverdale at 29 percent, Bremerton at 21 percent and Tacoma at 12 percent.

Should Transponder Users Get Discount?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

With new Narrows Bridge tolls in the works, there has been some debate from commenters about whether drivers who get transponders should receive a discount. Some argue that just being able to bypass the toll booths should be incentive enough. Others say buses and ferries have frequent-user discounts and it should be the same with bridge users.
I’m not going to take one side or the other but will try to provide some perspective.


Comment Problem Appears to Be Fixed

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

The problem we were having Wednesday where people couldn’t make comments appears to be fixed. I just received one.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Here’s What They Make

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I caught some flak the other day about not mentioning unions as being one of the reasons the ferries system is having problems. Even when the ferries weren’t having the problems they are today, riders resented the amount of money ferry workers made. It’s no secret. You can easily find out what every individual makes if you’re at all capable with the Internet. It’s public information. I’m not saying they make too much. That’s up to you to determine. I will say that most of them make more than a reporter with a college degree and 25 years of experience. That probably has a more to do with stupidity on my part than anything else. Here’s a link right on the ferries Web site that tells you lots of stuff about these positions.
I’ll summarize it a little.
Terminal attendants: $17.95
Ticket takers: $19.11
Ticket sellers: $21.74
Terminal supervisors: $31.28
Ordinary seamen: $19.11
Able-bodied seamen: $21.49
Second mate: $29.62
Chief mate: $33.16
Master: $42.50
Self master: $45.56
Relief master: $42.50
Wiper: $19.05
Oiler: $21.41
Assistant engineer: $26.78
Chief engineer: $37.39
Staff chief engineer: $39.07

Is It Washington State Ferries Anymore?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

When David Moseley was introduced as the new ferries director, Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond talked about bringing Washington State Ferries more under the Department of Transportation instead of lettling it hang out like it’s own agency. I’ve noticed a subtle change in the press releases they send me. They no longer call it Washington State Ferries. It’s now the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division. And Moseley isn’t Washington State Ferries director or CEO. he’s the deputy of the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division.
This is supposed to be a good thing for ferry riders. They’re trying to treat ferries more like highways and maybe find a way to fund them.

Republicans Didn’t Like Choice for New Director

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I got an e-mail from the state Republican Party a few days after David Moseley was announced by Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond and Gov. Chris Gregoire as the new ferries director. They don’t like the choice. I’ll run their press release below, then make a few comments.


Paula Paula Paula

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Hammond, that is. I like her. I’ve been impressed all four or five times I’ve talked to her. If you didn’t know, she became the Secretary of Transportation in October. She’s the one who made the decision to beach the steel-electrics. Some complained that at least one of those boats could’ve been made seaworthy enough that they could use it at PT-Keystone until they got something better and that it was a overreaction.
I can’t say that I know, but I trust her judgement. Wouldn’t want a boat to sink on my watch. If I used that route on a daily basis, I might have a different perspective …


Why Am I The Last To Know?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

How come you guys on the Southworth-Vashon-Fauntleroy route didn’t tell me you got Wi-Fi? I saw some mention of it on a Google alert blog, so I called the head guy from Parsons, Bob Parsons (nice guy, by the way) who said they sent out a press release a while back. So he sent me the old press release.


It’s Working Now, I Hope

Friday, February 15th, 2008

I was kind of wondering why I wasn’t getting any response to this new blog. Turns out, you couldn’t comment. It kept saying there was an error and the page couldn’t be found. Well, I have it on good authority that it’s supposed to be working now. If there’s any problem, email me at
I have tons of stuff I want to talk about today, but it’s already 2:30 and I haven’t even started a big story I’m writing for the weekend. But I’ll be back soon.
Sorry about the glitches.