Fauntleroy ferry loading goes back to drawing board

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Washington State experimented with new ticketing procedures the past couple weeks at Fauntleroy to speed up loading, but they didn’t work. Today the process reverted back to the old ways of doing things.

There are problems there that, under the circumstances, might never be fixed. The dock is too small, especially considering boats sail to two destinations from it. Neighbors don’t want it there in the first place and especially don’t want it to expand. Seattle won’t allow that to happen.

It wasn’t too bad when they were running smaller boats there, mostly 87-car Evergreen State and Tillikum. Now the lineup features the 120-car Issaquah and Cathlamet. They can’t get them loaded and unloaded fast enough to stay on schedule.

Ferries folks want to be on schedule. They’re held accountable for that. Riders would rather have late boats than to drop sailings to give the boats a chance to be on time.

Over the past three weeks, we have learned from passenger feedback and direct observation that the new procedures were not working,” Washington State Ferries said Thursday in a bulletin.

Passengers with pre-purchased tickets will be waved through the tollbooth, and their tickets will be scanned on the dock. Passengers who don’t have tickets must stop to buy them at the tollbooth.

“We recognize that this solution does not address the underlying difficulties at the Fauntleroy terminal, including limited vehicle capacity, challenges with consistent fare recovery and an outdated schedule designed for smaller vessels and lower traffic volume,” the bulletin said. “These factors create conflict between maintaining the schedule and filling the boats.”

WSF says it’ll continue to explore options to improve service within the constraints of the system.

2 thoughts on “Fauntleroy ferry loading goes back to drawing board

  1. Another decision made by the inexperienced without taking time to fully vet the situation. The first question that should have been asked is, if it worked so well, why wasn’t the bypass lane still in use? There had been much discussion by some regarding how placing larger capacity vessels on the route was going to create a situation where vessels would depart with even more auto space open due to the situation at the Fauntleory terminal. A similar question was asked, would the boats still be able to keep a on the hour and half hour schedule with one larger boat taking longer to load.

    Got to love the dreamers in the planning department. They gave assurances things would all be rose colored. There were experienced people then who shrugged their shoulder in skepticism.

  2. At one time tickets were sold by ferry personnel walking up Fauntleroy Way. It seems it would be easier now with hand held devices for credit card purchases. I remember this from my childhood, mid 50’s and beyond.

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