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Washington ferries report 25 million riders in 2018, most in 16 years

(WSDOT)

Washington state ferries saw 25 million total riders in 2018, according to recently-released data from the Washington State Department of Transportation.

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Ridership for state ferries increased by over 225,000 from 2017, reaching the highest totals in Washington since 2002, and measuring an increase of 10 percent over the last five years.

“Our ridership is up 10 percent from five years ago and it’s forecast to grow another 30 percent to all-time highs over the next 20 years,” said WSF Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton in a news release. “In order to support this projected demand with reliable service, our recently released 2040 Long Range Plan calls for 16 new vessels by 2040.”

For the third straight year, the biggest increase was seen on the Southworth/Vashon ferry route, with an almost nine percent increase over 2017. WSDOT attributes that steady increase to a mass exodus to more affordable housing options in South Kitsap County.

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The most notable drop was at the WSF’s flagship terminal at Colman Dock, that, despite serving the most total customers, saw a year-over-year decrease of almost 60,000 riders.

WSF boasts the largest ferry system in the country.

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