Fast ferry from Tacoma to Seattle could be reality by 2022

Dec 12, 2018, 7:23 AM | Updated: 7:23 am

A fast ferry service from Tacoma to Seattle could be coming in the next three to five years.

“This is the way of the future,” said Ryan Mello, Tacoma City Council. “People are clamoring for more and more modes to get to different parts of Puget Sound, and this is what this offers.”

On Tuesday, Mello unveiled the city’s Fast Ferry Feasibility Study. It shows the ferry could go in one of four spots in Tacoma:

  • 11th Street
  • Old Town
  • Point Ruston
  • Point Defiance Park

The ferry would take riders around Vashon Island and into Coleman Dock in Seattle. Estimated capital costs would be about $40 million and the ferry would cost about $2.83 million per year to operate. Annual ridership is estimated to be around 114,400 per year with a fare of about $11 one way.

“If the ferry is going to go there and you got to get over there, it’s an easier way,” said commuter Oscar Villalovos.

Mello said the fast ferry would cut down on commute times to Seattle. According to the study, it’d take between 43 to 55 minutes to get from Tacoma to Seattle by ferry, depending on where the dock sits. Currently, travel times to Seattle are roughly 62 minutes via the Sounder Train, 65 to 80 minutes on the Express Bus and 50 to 120 minutes by car.

“As folks can see from I-5 just this morning, you know, it’s getting tougher and tougher to commute on the freeways just in this congested region, so the more modes to keep our economy moving the better,” said Mello.

The full results of the feasibility study are available here.

Next steps include updating a Puget Sound-wide Passenger Only Ferry Study that will include detailed business planning for the Tacoma to Seattle route to include stakeholder engagement, financing strategies, refined costs and detailed route information.

By Shelby Miller, KIRO 7

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