Whatfor Bremerton Ferry?

Here’s a question for all you Bremertonians, close-to-Bremertonians or readers of some things Bremerton: Do you need the ferry?
Does news like the bit announced earlier today that a ferry boat broke down cause you to blow coffee out your ears?
Are you what we often call a “commuter?”
Or do you appreciate the ferry as a reason in and of itself to live here?
When you’re driving down Ilahee and you see the ferry in the distance, do you make a straight line for the waterfront so you can watch the boat pass?
Do you ever ride the boat to Seattle, turn around in the terminal over there and come back?

When Money magazine gave Bremerton such high marks about 15 years ago, one of the things that intrigued me most was the ferry culture. How cool it sounded to me then to get on a boat, ride for an hour, and go to work in Seattle.
I later lived in Portland for a year. When I visited Seattle, I’d see that exit to Bremerton on I-5 and for a few seconds consider making the turn. Never did.
Then in May 2002 I got a chance to interview here. The job I wanted was already gone, but more would be coming. The bosses here thought it a good idea to see if I was a solid candidate for the future of the company.
By that afternoon the day had already been great. I was a bit startled by Bremerton’s rough look, but the newspaper seemed a good fit for me, and a lunch at the Boat Shed had allowed us to spot three bald eagles circling over the Port Washington Narrows near the Manette Bridge.
As the day progressed I got more and more anxious to board the ferry for the first time in my life. I left my car down below and staked out a position on the front right deck. Once the boat left, it only took me a few minutes to decide “I have to live here.”
It would be a chance, I hoped, to one day see Orcas. (Completed on Christmas 2004.) The boats offered the best views of Seattle. Even better, I could walk on a boat and then walk to Safeco Field. (Completed the day after I moved here.)
Yet I know that for some of you the ferry is more than just a nice piece of character. It’s a necessity.
For some it’s like riding the bus.
What is the ferry system for you? Any complaints? What changes would you like to see? Do you look forward to the return of the 30-minute boat ride from Bremerton to Seattle? What are your thoughts about something that is such a huge part of where we live?

10 thoughts on “Whatfor Bremerton Ferry?

  1. I used to commute to Seattle when they did have the 30 minute ride to Seattle. I would leave my house at 6:00 am and not get back until 6:00 pm. That is a long day. I lived in Silverdale at the time I figured by the time it took me to drive all the way around to Bainbridge Island and catch a ferry would be the same amount of time for me to drive to Bremerton and take the auto boat. I would love to see more ferry times and the 30 minute walk on ferry return. Bainbridge Island has always gotten the newest and best boats, and I think they were jealous when Bremerton got the nice new fast foot ferry that they had to raise a stink about the “eroding of shore” on homeowners’ property on Bainbridge Island and more tests had to be performed. Bremerton deserves nice boats and that 30 minute commute.

  2. I am in year 12 of commuting – can’t imagine traveling any other way. Like Shannon, I miss the 30-min commute and was miffed by the state’s lack of backbone in using maritime law to defend its position to run those badly-designed boats. I am also a big fan of private service, and use Kitsap Ferry as much as possible.

  3. I used the ferry system for 4 years before transplanting myself to the east coast. I can honestly say that I miss that commute. It was a nice way to wake up and an even better way to wind down after a long day at the office!

  4. What changes would you like to see? Do you look forward to the return of the 30-minute boat ride from Bremerton to Seattle? What are your thoughts about something that is such a huge part of where we live?
    I would like to see a BI class boat on the Bremerton/Seattle run.
    I haven’t experienced the 30-minute boat ride…but it is bound to be an asset for commuters.
    I used to commute from Belfair to Seattle and enjoyed ever minute of the ride. I considered the time on the ferry a special time for myself, to read, to think, to gaze at the moving landscape and thank God anew that I lived in such a beautiful place.

  5. Forget a wireless cloud, how about some cross walk lighting on the west side. I can’t count the number of times I have seen some pedestrian get nailed in the crosswalks from 11th over to Burwell.

  6. Steve,

    In this age of high speed, high bandwidth internet connections, why are we still moving people to where the information is instead of moving information to where the people are? Quite a few of our ferry commuters work with information and could, theoretically, do their jobs from a telework center in downtown Bremerton.

    Locally, Kitsap Transit (KT) administers the local Commute Trip Reduction program which, in part, encourages teleworking. KT also administers the commercial space in the Harborside building where space is currently available. This space should be evaluated for use as a telework center.

    A telework center would provide the following benefits: 1. improve the quality of life of workers by reducing commute times; 2. support downtown businesses that would benefit from having more potential customers working nearby; and 3. reduce our dependence on a problem-plagued ferry system.

    Let’s make Bremerton’s downtown revival self-sustaining by keeping more Kitsap residents working in Bremerton instead of in Seattle.

  7. What, exactly, is a ‘telework center’?

    Those who can already work from home/anywhere by computer…what would a telework center do?
    Sharon O’Hara

  8. Sharon,

    Yes, you’re correct that some workers could possibly work from home. However, a telework center is a professionally managed and equipped facility which closely duplicates a typical office environment. Specifically, a telework facility could include professional office equipment; well maintained, secure communications; a break room providing a chance to socialize with other teleworkers; and therapeutic views of Sinclair Inlet and our fair city.

    The challenge is to convince the city government, Kitsap Transit, workers and employers that the benefits of establishing a telework center far outweigh the disadvantages (if one can find any).

  9. Thank you, Roy.

    Who pays?

    And why would a person choose to work at a Bremerton Telemarket Center when they can continue to work at home for nothing, or go on into their ‘real’ office?

    A ‘Telemarket Center’ is a great idea for the person who thought of it…probably. And should generate good revenue…but, again…who pays and how much?

    What kind of computer business would be attracted to working from a Telemarket Center?
    … it sounds interesting…
    Sharon O’Hara

  10. Sharon: What exactly is a “Telemarket Center?”

    Please reread my last posting to see I wrote “teleworking center”, NOT “telemarket” center”.

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