Bremerton Stars in Ferry Ridership Report

It’s always kind of fun to look at the ferry ridership stats. WSF puts them out every quarter and then a final at the end of the year. The 2007 numbers are out, and the first thing I noticed was that Bremerton is the only route to gain riders over the year before.
In 2006, if I remember correctly, there was a slight gain in total riders in the system, the first gain since fares started going up dramatically in 2000. This year was ahead of last year through June, said planning director Ray Deardorf, but then there were the service disruptions caused by the retirement of four steel-electric boats in November.
2007 wound up falling 1.2 percent off of 2006′s pace. Bremerton was the only route to show an increase — 3.5 percent — outside of a miniscule gain for the international boat. Ferry officials couldn’t immediately explain it.
Bainbridge traffic fell 0.7 percent for the year, Kingston 1 percent, Southworth-Fauntleroy7 2.4 percent, Southworth-Vashon 9 percent and Port Townsend-Keystone a whopping but understandable 11.8 percent.
I don’t have an answer for the Bremerton gain. It had the same boats — a super and Issaquah boat — as the year before. Anybody have an explanation?

3 thoughts on “Bremerton Stars in Ferry Ridership Report

  1. “Bremerton was the only route to show an increase — 3.5 percent — outside of a miniscule gain for the international boat. Ferry officials couldn’t immediately explain it. Bainbridge traffic fell 0.7 percent for the year….”

    Anecdotal information points to an explanation. When people buy tickets for the Bremerton route, they pay the same as for the Bainbridge Island route — and the ticket sellers don’t always punch the Bremerton button. If WSF counts passengers by looking at the ticket selling data, they could be fooled into thinking Bainbridge Island had more riders than was actually the case (and vice versa, of course, if the ticket sellers punched the Bremerton button for a Bainbridge rider).

    If, for some reason, 2007 involved fewer such mistakes in favor of the Bainbridge route, then you would see Bremerton rider numbers go up and Bainbridge go down — even though no change in actual numbers occurred.

    How do they count riders on each route? Does the ticket seller’s action have any impact on their counts?

    Another possibility is that the numbers are, and have always been, accurate; and people are sick of the delays caused by congestion on the island. They may choose the Bremerton route to avoid the traffic they would face in getting off the island. Bainbridge attracts riders by running more frequently all day long, but that attractiveness is diminished by traffic congestion on the island.

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