Kitsap Transit gets nearly $1M to help address frequent ferry delays and cancellations

Aug 16, 2022, 3:04 PM | Updated: 3:12 pm
(Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire)

Since the start of the pandemic, just like other ferry services, Kitsap Fast Ferry has had its share of cancellations. It was so bad at points that cancellations would happen daily. But with new federal funding, Kitsap County is looking to change that.

Kitsap Transit launched its fast-ferry service on the Bremerton/Seattle route back in July 2017. The Fast Ferry services two routes, the Kingston/Seattle route in November 2018 and the Southworth/Seattle route in March 2021.

Des Moines betting on fast ferry service to attract visitors

The Executive Director of Kitsap Transit, John Clauson says that these cancellations are due to labor shortages, which seem to be affecting nearly every industry.

“For the most part, the recent cancellations have been due to crew shortages,” Clauson said. “With the current variant, we are having a number of our folks who are testing positive or being exposed to someone who has tested positive and we are following the CDC Guidance. So that’s where most of our service cancellations have come from.”

If Kitsap Fast Ferry is one crew member short, they can’t operate the ferries according to Clauson, who goes on to say that current employees are not required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status, however, new hires are required to show proof of vaccination.

Kitsap Transit was awarded an extra $700,000 in federal grant money from the new infrastructure bill that was recently passed by the Federal government.

“We did see a substantial increase in what we normally see. Kitsap Transit typically sees around $150,000 give or take.” Clauson said.

In total, Kitsap Transit will receive $850,000 towards the end of the year. Some of the funds will help repair a used vessel that was recently purchased from San Francisco, and the remaining dollars will go towards unplanned expenses.

Clauson goes on to share that Kitsap Transit is also hiring for their Marine Service division for deck hands and are seeking those interested in working as a bus operator. In an effort to remain competitive, a $7,000 sign-on bonus is being offered to those who qualify.

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Kitsap Transit gets nearly $1M to help address frequent ferry delays and cancellations