Ferry Stuff Coming Up

There’s a lot going on with the state ferries, but most of it isn’t coming to a head for a little while. What to watch for:

Washington State Ferries is getting pretty close to finishing an investigation into what happened with the Walla Walla thrust bearing that knocked it out of service for several days and created a costly repair job. They’re almost finished interviewing people. If it’s determined that human error caused the problem, which has already been said to be the case, then they’ll move on to the disciplinary phase and proceed in accordance with the union contract.

The new Kingston-Edmonds ferry schedule should be coming out next week. WSF released a draft schedule a few weeks ago that it hopes will improve its on-time performance and match up better with transit connections. Riders offered tweaks to make it better for them, ferries staff incorporated, and now the final product is almost ready to roll out. It will take effect on Jan. 4.

The bid opening for building two Island Home ferries for the Port Townsend-Keystone route is Thursday at 11 a.m. It’ll be interesting to see how many shipyards bid.

WSF will unveil its draft long-range plan Monday to the Joint Transportation Committee’s Ferry Policy Group. It was going to go to the public on Nov. 20, but that’s evidently up for discussion now at the Monday meeting.

WSF is close to closing a sale for its four retired steel-electric ferries with Environmental Recycling Systems. The deal is for $500,000 plus 10 percent of recycling proceeds. PCB surveys should be completed next week and a deal signed by the end of the month. Steve Rodrigues of the Kalakala Foundation met with WSF leaders on Friday to try to convince them to sell at least one of the ferries to him to use to renovate the Kalakala, but the state isn’t interested.