Ferry Err

On May 21, a Saturday, fellow Kitsap Sun reporter Christopher Dunagan and I went to Seattle to attend the Society of Professional Journalists awards ceremony. We took the Bremerton run over and the Bainbridge boat back, but not by choice. It’s something I guess Bremertonians who’ve been here a while have learned to live with, the fact that the Washington State Ferries Bremerton schedule forces you to leave events early, go elsewhere or stay in Seattle longer than you want to.

We discovered around 10:20 that we had 10 minutes until the ferry left, and we weren’t sure we could make it. We didn’t make it. Chris’ wife picked us up in Bainbridge.

I talked to copy editor and baseball columnist Jim Thomsen about the story and he said it’s something locals are used to. When you grow up in an area without much public transportation, as I did growing up in L.A., you don’t learn the need to rely on schedules. When I interned in D.C. I did have to leave an opera early one night because bus service was going to stop for the night, even if the Metro was still running. When I lived in Poulsbo we normally took the Bainbridge or Kingston boats. Those were fairly regular. A couple times we had to wait an extra boat, but even that was usually no longer than 45 minutes.

Not so in Bremerton. If Chris and I had waited for the next Bremerton boat we would have been in Seattle until 12:50 a.m., more than two hours after the previous run. Next time I go to a Mariners night game, I’ll probably have to decide whether to leave early or not. I don’t know how in the world WSF decided that schedule works best, but if Bainbridge and Kingston do more at night than Bremerton, it’s no wonder. Next time I’ll drive around.

2 thoughts on “Ferry Err

  1. When I lived in the Bay Area, BART would put in extra runs on nights when were events got out late (i.e. at the Oakland Stadium–if the A’s games ran late because of extra innings) so that everyone got home. The trains would be lined up at the stadium stop for when the game let out and run until all the people were picked up. I, too, have also wondered why WSF hasn’t done that before when there has been extreme overload because of events. When I first moved here, I heard about one night there had been a game, two concerts and a few other events in Seattle. About 20-30 people were left behind because the last boat to Kitsap was full. They had to stay for the night in Seattle. And that was when there was a run every 30-60 minutes on the Bremerton run. Why can’t the foot ferry make those extra runs at night? It is not as expensive to run and it would only be the walk ons that would be stuck unless they wanted to pay a taxi to go around. And good luck finding a room in Seattle when there are multiple events going on.

  2. Steve,

    Enjoy your vacation. If you accept the hypothesis that the Bremerton – Seattle run is scheduled for the convenience of crews, many anomalies explain themselves. That is the elephant in the living room argument, based on being in my 12th year of commuting.

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