Will Economy Sink Foot Ferry Service on Summertime Sundays?

By Rachel Pritchett



Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola is floating an idea to bring foot ferries back on Sundays just in the summertime. But the economy may pull the plug.

Coppola wants his city to partner with the city of Bremerton and the Port of Bremerton to absorb the cost, roughly $24,000 for four months’ of Sundays, or $8,000 per partner, according to interim Port CEO Tim Thomson.

Last month, budget-strapped Kitsap Transit sunk all Sunday service provided by the steadfast fleet of tiny ferries that shuttle riders among Port Orchard, Annapolis and Bremerton.

Port of Bremerton leaders who met Tuesday were buoyant about Coppola’s idea. Seattle tourists and visiting boaters in Bremerton could hop aboard for a quick trip to Port Orchard for sightseeing, or back the other way to Bremerton for supper at Anthony’s, they contemplated.

A Sunday run between the Bremerton and Port Orchard marinas also would help with the new Kitsap Harbor Festival planned for Memorial Day weekend, which is to have events at both marinas, they said.  

“I’m in favor of it,” Commissioner Larry Stokes announced at the port study session on Tuesday. Port commissioners even talked about offering the service free to riders, compliments of the port, for a little added public relations. 

But Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman, who also heard about Coppola’s
proposal, fired off an e-mail to port leaders Tuesday that reminded them that financing would be tough on his end. 

The city’s sales-tax receipts are down the drain.

“To find new monies for anything is going to be very difficult,” Bozeman said.

No one knows yet whether Coppola’s idea would work without Bremerton’s participation, or whether the Sunday ferries could run just during summertime festivals and holiday weekends, to get the cost down.

Port commissioners directed Thomson to draw up a proposed interlocal agreement for later consideration.

The average annual ridership for Sundays was 495 riders, but much higher in the summer

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