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Washington ferry ridership craters amid coronavirus crisis

Ferry sailings will continue to be reduced this summer. (Washington State Ferries)

Ferry demand has cratered over the last two months.

For a little perspective, “we haven’t seen ridership this low since the 1950s,” the ferry service’s Justin Fujioka said.

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This is an unprecedented drop.

“We’re generally down about 75% percent,” Fujioka said. “We typically see, this time of year, somewhere between 50,000 to 70,000 people riding daily. We’re currently seeing on the order of 15,000 to 20,000 people daily.”

It’s the walk-on passenger numbers that are the most staggering, down over 90%. Vehicles are down 65%.

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In response, there will be no spring sailing schedule this year. The winter schedule has already been extended once, and it will now remain in effect until June 20. That’s when the summer schedule is supposed to begin.

There is also a new tweak to the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route. It has been down to three boats since the Samish was sidelined for rudder repairs. This route will return to four boats on Sunday. Despite lower demand, the islands rely on that four boat schedule, so having the Samish back will make a big difference in reliability.

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