Visit Vashon Island or West Seattle on King County’s water taxi
The water taxi run by King County Metro offers two routes from downtown Seattle with sailings every day to West Seattle and every weekday to Vashon Island.
Both routes use the downtown Seattle waterfront dock at the terminal at Pier 50. The multimodal terminal has the capacity to hold 500 passengers under cover, but be warned that there is no parking available at the pier. There are paid lots in the area and metered parking on nearby streets.
West Seattle route
Once in West Seattle, the water taxi docks at Seacrest Park. The park is easy to reach by bus, neighborhood shuttles, and waterfront pathways for walkers and bicyclists. Visitors to West Seattle will find easy access to waterfront trails, Alki beach, fishing piers, restaurants, and shops along California Avenue.
The fare is one-way and costs $5.75 for adults or $5 with an ORCA card to West Seattle. Children 5 and under ride free.
The West Seattle route has two vessels: MV Doc Maynard and Spirit of Kingston.
The MV Doc Maynard is the newest vessel, one of two new water taxis built with grant money from the Federal Transit Administration. The grant covered 80% of the cost of the two vessels, the other being on the Vashon route. The new boats can carry 278 passengers, have increased bicycle storage capacity, wider doors for faster boarding, and low-emission engines.
The vessel was named for one of Seattle’s early pioneers, David Swinson “Doc” Maynard, who helped shape the Seattle we know today and advocated for naming the city after Chief Seattle.
The Spirit of Kingston is a foil-assisted catamaran that holds 149 passengers, 16 bicycles, and a crew of three. The King County Ferry District acquired the eight-year-old vessel at no capital cost through an agreement with the Federal Transit Administration for this route.
Vashon Island route
On Vashon Island, the taxi docks at the Vashon Ferry Terminal, owned and operated by Washington State Ferries. Free parking is available about a block away and uphill from the terminal.
Fares are one-way, and cost $6.75 for an adult, or $5.75 for those with an ORCA card.
The vessel for the Vashon route is the MV Sally Fox, which passes Alki Point on its trip. It, like the Doc Maynard, holds 278 passengers. The first of the King County Water Taxi’s two new vessels, the MV Sally Fox, was dedicated in a ceremony on March 28, 2015.
After a public vote, the vessel was named for longtime Vashon resident Sally Willinger Fox, who was a passionate advocate for the preservation of passenger-only ferry service between Vashon Island and downtown Seattle.
For now, a mask or face covering is still required while on board.
The water taxi does not take reservations. Passengers board on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Vashon Island route does not operate on weekends or holidays, including Labor Day. The West Seattle water taxi does not operate on most major holidays, and operates on a Sunday schedule on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.