Ferries tops reliability goal despite issuesMay 22nd, 2014 by ed friedrich
The north end of Washington State Ferries took the brunt of
service problems from January through March, according to the
Department of Transportation’s quarterly Gray Notebook. The system
canceled 177 out of 38,726 sailings for a 99.5 percent reliability
rate, bettering its 99 percent goal.
It didn’t seem that dependable at times to riders on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route and in the San Juans.
There were 100 missed sailings caused by tides and bad weather, and every one of them was at Port Townsend-Coupeville. When tidal currents run too swiftly — more than 3.5 knots — WSF doesn’t gamble going aground getting in and out of little Keystone Harbor on Whidbey Island. As the boat’s bow enters the calmer water of the harbor, the stern, still in the current, gets spun around.
Eight boats had mechanical problems that resulted in 60 missed trips. Most were from the Sealth breaking down in the San Juans. Steering problems sidelined it for six days and resulted in 29 canceled trips.
Crewing issues accounted for 29 canceled sailings. DOT says its because of the Coast Guard requiring more staff with higher training requirements on several of the boats.
The San Juans also were late most often because the Sealth was replaced by other boats that were too slow to keep the schedule. Its on-time rate was 90 percent compared to 96.9 percent for the entire system.
On an average day, just 13 out of 428 trips don’t leave the terminal within 10 minutes of the scheduled departure time. Four routes, including Seattle-Bremerton, didn’t miss any sailings all quarter.
The system made more money in fares — $32.6 million — than any winter quarter in history.