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Greater Seattle-Bremerton connection coming with one more fast ferry

(KIRO 7 )

Kitsap Transit will roll out two-boat service on the Bremerton to Seattle route on Monday, September 23, adding four additional sailings to the run.

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This is the fast ferry across Puget Sound, carrying only foot traffic — no cars.

But Kitsap Transit Executive Director John Clauson said this expanded service is only a short-term test, lasting just four weeks. Before two-boat service can run officially, the agency has to prove that the extra sailings don’t cause damage to the shoreline.

“It truly is a test, and we will shut the vessel down after the four-week duration,” Clauson said. “That will give the scientists time to go out and measure the changes, if any, to the beaches and prepare a report.”

Kitsap Transit is racing the weather to get this testing done.

“We’re trying hard to get this four weeks in before the winter storm season occurs, at which point they wouldn’t be able to determine whether any impacts are the result of the storms or our boats,” Clauson said.

If the testing comes back negative for shoreline impact, Clauson hopes to have the two-boat system up and running before next summer.

Ask if there’s enough demand to put a second boat on the route, Clauson said, “When we turn on the reservations’ availability for a month, within five to ten minutes all of the available seats for the entire month have been booked.”

Highest ferry ridership in history of Washington

Demand for the Kingston to Seattle run, which started earlier this year, has also been strong. Kitsap County continues to grow, and demand for service, both bus and ferry, is following suit.

The agency has launched a new online survey for Kitsap County residents and Kitsap Transit users. Clauson said he wants to hear from county residents and customers about what the agency can do to improve. He would also like to hear any ideas for expanding service. The survey takes about five minutes and participants will be entered into a drawing for a $150 gift certificate. The survey closes next on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Kitsap Transit is also rolling out the first hybrid passenger ferry in the state on September 23, running between Port Orchard and Bremerton.

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