Josh Farley writes:
Have you driven aboard the Bremerton ferry from Seattle, only to find your receipt says you went to Bainbridge Island?
“Once again, at the ferry ticket booth in Seattle, I tell the employee that we are driving on the Bremerton ferry and he hands me a receipt for the Bainbridge route. This time, I ask to have it corrected and explain why. He tells me that the computer system automatically defaults to Bainbridge for all receipts and thus, for record keeping of ferry use. Time to write a letter. No wonder we have so few evening ferries while Bainbridge’s are so frequent.”
I asked the Washington State Ferries’ Marta Coursey about this frequent complaint. First off, we are only talking about cars here — pedestrians are counted at the turnstile where tickets are scanned at Colman Dock in Seattle.
For vehicles, it is ferry policy that all sales are credited to the correct route for each ticket sold. The ticket seller has a choice — Bainbridge or Bremerton — and the ferry system believes it’s important they pick the right one for the purposes of tracking ridership stats and planning, as well as accurate accounting.
In short, Ann, it’s not OK for the ticket seller to credit your Bremerton voyage to Bainbridge Island, and Coursey says the ferry system is “working directly” with those sellers and managers to “ensure staff is following procedures correctly.”
Here’s what you do if you’ve been issued a ticket incorrectly. Take your receipt, and mail it to:
Washington State Ferries
Attn. Operations Manager Kathy Booth
2901 Third Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle, Washington 98121
The big question is whether undercounting Bremerton cars actually harms Bremerton ferry service, the subject of a piece by Kitsap Sun reporter Ed Friedrich a few years back. But if nothing else, having accurate record keeping is important. And that means Ann’s ferry trip should count toward Bremerton — not Bainbridge.