Monthly Archives: February 2008

46 Percent of PO Households Have Transponders

The DOT packet explaining its new contract with tolling vendor TransCore contained some interesting numbers. Among them were the percentage of households with transponders by geographic area.
Not surprisingly, Gig Harbor comes in highest at 96 percent with Port Orchard second at 46 percent, Silverdale at 29 percent, Bremerton at 21 percent and Tacoma at 12 percent.

Should Transponder Users Get Discount?

With new Narrows Bridge tolls in the works, there has been some debate from commenters about whether drivers who get transponders should receive a discount. Some argue that just being able to bypass the toll booths should be incentive enough. Others say buses and ferries have frequent-user discounts and it should be the same with bridge users.
I’m not going to take one side or the other but will try to provide some perspective.

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Here’s What They Make

I caught some flak the other day about not mentioning unions as being one of the reasons the ferries system is having problems. Even when the ferries weren’t having the problems they are today, riders resented the amount of money ferry workers made. It’s no secret. You can easily find out what every individual makes if you’re at all capable with the Internet. It’s public information. I’m not saying they make too much. That’s up to you to determine. I will say that most of them make more than a reporter with a college degree and 25 years of experience. That probably has a more to do with stupidity on my part than anything else. Here’s a link right on the ferries Web site that tells you lots of stuff about these positions.
I’ll summarize it a little.
Terminal attendants: $17.95
Ticket takers: $19.11
Ticket sellers: $21.74
Terminal supervisors: $31.28
Ordinary seamen: $19.11
Able-bodied seamen: $21.49
Second mate: $29.62
Chief mate: $33.16
Master: $42.50
Self master: $45.56
Relief master: $42.50
Wiper: $19.05
Oiler: $21.41
Assistant engineer: $26.78
Chief engineer: $37.39
Staff chief engineer: $39.07

Is It Washington State Ferries Anymore?

When David Moseley was introduced as the new ferries director, Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond talked about bringing Washington State Ferries more under the Department of Transportation instead of lettling it hang out like it’s own agency. I’ve noticed a subtle change in the press releases they send me. They no longer call it Washington State Ferries. It’s now the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division. And Moseley isn’t Washington State Ferries director or CEO. he’s the deputy of the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division.
This is supposed to be a good thing for ferry riders. They’re trying to treat ferries more like highways and maybe find a way to fund them.

Paula Paula Paula

Hammond, that is. I like her. I’ve been impressed all four or five times I’ve talked to her. If you didn’t know, she became the Secretary of Transportation in October. She’s the one who made the decision to beach the steel-electrics. Some complained that at least one of those boats could’ve been made seaworthy enough that they could use it at PT-Keystone until they got something better and that it was a overreaction.
I can’t say that I know, but I trust her judgement. Wouldn’t want a boat to sink on my watch. If I used that route on a daily basis, I might have a different perspective …

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It’s Working Now, I Hope

I was kind of wondering why I wasn’t getting any response to this new blog. Turns out, you couldn’t comment. It kept saying there was an error and the page couldn’t be found. Well, I have it on good authority that it’s supposed to be working now. If there’s any problem, email me at
I have tons of stuff I want to talk about today, but it’s already 2:30 and I haven’t even started a big story I’m writing for the weekend. But I’ll be back soon.
Sorry about the glitches.