CHOKEPOINTS

New ferry line cutting education and enforcement underway

Sep 23, 2021, 5:52 AM | Updated: 5:53 am
ferry, ferries...
Ferry waits at Edmonds Terminal. (Chris Sullivan/KIRO Radio)
(Chris Sullivan/KIRO Radio)

Ferry line cutters beware. The state is stepping up enforcement to make up for the loss of the HERO line.

State ending hotline used to tattle on bad drivers

We told you earlier this week that the HERO program was ending. That was the number you could call to report HOV lane violators, or ferry line cutters. A new education and enforcement campaign has started.

The signs that showed that phone number along the ferry lines are being replaced with new ones that remind drivers that cutting the line is a $139 fine.

“We want to educate people,” the ferry system’s Dana Warr said. “Line cutting is a traffic violation, and you will be fined, if caught. It’s just like speeding. It’s just like running a red light.”

The ferry system will be handing out pamphlets at terminals and posting the signs on the tollbooths as well. State Trooper Kevin Fortino said Washington State Patrol plans to step up their enforcement when they can.

“Part of our security program is to be randomized,” Trooper Fortino said. “We don’t announce where we are going to be or why we’re going to be there.”

I think most ferry riders know where the worst line cutting happens, and the ferry system’s Warr does too.

“It’s known that certain terminals that are higher in line cutting,” Warr said. “Kingston was a big issue for a while, Mukilteo, Fauntleroy — all of our terminals have line cutting. Some are little more severe than the others.”

You can expect those hot spots to be watched going forward.

To be clear, there has always been a $139 fine for line cutting. That’s not new. The education and beefed-up enforcement is.

So if you see someone cutting the line, what should you do?

“As difficult as it can be sometimes, do not contact those individuals on your own,” Trooper Fortino said. “You don’t know the scenario that you’re getting into. You don’t know the potential dangers that might arise. We’ve seen those over years past where people have had guns pulled on them or pulled guns on people that have cut, and it’s completely unacceptable.”

You can always talk to an officer at the terminal once you are parked, or talk to any ferry staff member.

Trooper Fortino also suggests that you not assume the cutting driver cut the line maliciously. People from out of town often cut the line because they don’t know any better. Some other people cutting the line could be ferry workers, or some could have priority boarding for a medical reason.

That said, Fortino knows there are many people that routinely cut the line while commuting, and those are the drivers the state is trying to target.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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New ferry line cutting education and enforcement underway