Tag Archives: Airporter

Airporter for Bainbridge is an uphill fight

The in basket: Byron Holcomb, a Bainbridge Island lawyer, is a man of many causes, including the absence of airporter service from the island to Sea-Tac Airport and back.

He’s been beating the drums for some concessions by the state ferry system to make an island-based airporter service more viable.

He contends Bainbridge is the only city of its size to have no such service. The existing options for islanders, he says, are difficult for the disabled and poor, requiring a walk or taxi ride from the Seattle ferry terminal to somewhere a connection to the airport can be caught. And those connections often don’t leave their fares a convenient walk into the airport, he said.

He wants to see preferential loading of airporter vehicles on the ferries to and from Winslow and no ferry fares for such vehicles. That would allow them to stay on schedule without having to worry about overloads, and avoid time-consuming collection of fares.

He ran that past one of his state legislators and didn’t get any support, he said. He asked if I could help.

The out basket: I talked with Dick Asche, owner of Kitsap Airporter that serves  Kitsap County as far north as Keyport Junction.

Dick said whatever the shortcomings of the existing choices for those on the island, they are too numerous for him to compete with.

“We carry a lot of people out of Poulsbo,” he said. “I hope a lot of them are from Bainbridge Island.

It’s just not the worth the extra mileage for the few riders he would expect to prefer a long ride through Tacoma to what is available to them now, he said.

Byron isn’t proposing to run an airport service, and doesn’t know of anyone who would take it on if he ever got the Legislature to fund the ferry service concessions. And finding an airporter base on the island with enough parking would be yet another challenge.

Anyway, if you would like to champion his airporter cause, his e-mail address is BYLAW@aol.com

Cash payment discouraged to ride Kitsap Airporter

The in basket: My friend Linda Verbon of Las Vegas tried to book a trip to Seattle-Tacoma Airport aboard the Kitsap Airporter recently. She wanted to travel that very day and pay cash. She was refused, and told to use a credit or debit card.

That didn’t seem right, she said. She’d paid cash to ride the Airporter before. 

So had I, I told her. I went looking to find out if something had changed.

The out basket: No, says Dick Asche, founder and still owner of the Airporter service.

Linda’s problem, he said, was the unfortunate confluence of making a same-day reservation and wanting to pay cash.

Thirty years in the business has taught him that a high proportion of such reservations become no-shows, he said. 

People on limited budgets and without plastic often make reservations in case they can’t catch a ride another way, which they often do.

Giving a credit or debit card number also is an incentive to call to cancel if their plans change, he said.

No shows cost him a lot of money, he said. Even if there is another paying passenger at the stop the no-show designated, so the driver hasn’t gone out of his way unnecessarily, his dispatchers may have turned down other would-be riders on that bus because the reservations taken say the bus will be full after its last stop before the airport. 

A no-show also keeps a driver from departing early when all other reserved passengers are aboard, a safeguard against unexpected delays later in the trip.

And, as anyone who has ridden the Airporter knows, boarding is a lot quicker when the driver doesn’t have to take cash, make change and write a receipt.

The Airporter’s brochures and Web site (kitsapairporter.com) strongly encourage making reservations one to seven days in advance and paying by debit or credit card. 

Dick said Linda’s inquiry has caused him to add the following to the Web site, when his Webmaster can get it done:

“Cash payments for same-day reservations to the airport are generally discouraged.”