Washington ferries move ‘most routes’ to alternate schedules amid ongoing crew shortages

Jan 18, 2022, 11:03 AM
Washington ferries...
Onboard a ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

Washington ferries have continued to deal with delays, staffing shortages, and reduced routes this week.

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Washington State Ferries announced Tuesday that “most routes” will be now be operating on alternate schedules indefinitely. Those routes include:

  • Edmonds/Kingston
  • Seattle/Bainbridge Island
  • Seattle/Bremerton
  • Fauntleroy/Vashon
  • Fauntleroy/Southworth
  • Southworth/Vashon

New vehicle reservations for San Juan Islands ferries have also been suspended “until further notice.”

WSF says these changes all boil down to ongoing crew shortages, an issue that dates back to late 2021. In October, the ferry system similarly went to a reduced sailing schedule following a series of canceled trips. The plan at the time was to provide a schedule that the ferry service could deliver reliably, so riders would have some confidence that a boat would be waiting when they got to the terminal. That cut down on the crewing shortage issues.

Gov. Inslee hopes state lawmakers will ‘be more attentive’ to ferry system’s needs

After gradually returning boats to normal service, WSF hit early snags, with crew shortages again leading to multiple cancellations in December. By the end of 2021, the ferry service was still running on a handful of reduced schedules, with issues further exacerbated by extreme winter weather conditions and the early days of a surge in COVID cases driven by the omicron variant.

You can view the full schedule of ferry routes at this link.

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(Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images)...
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Washington ferries move ‘most routes’ to alternate schedules amid ongoing crew shortages