Washington ferry ridership at highest since start of pandemic

Aug 31, 2022, 12:50 PM
Photo from KIRO 7...
Photo from KIRO 7

As people start to plan for the busy Labor Day holiday weekend, Washington State Ferries announced Wednesday that ferry ridership has reached its highest levels since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a news release, WSF said that the systemwide vehicle count since the start of the peak travel summer season on June 19 is at 91% of pre-pandemic levels.

Walk-on passengers have been slightly slower to return and are at just 62% of their pre-pandemic levels.

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In total, vehicle and walk-on summer ridership through Aug. 28 are at 82% of pre-pandemic levels.

According to WSF, the Anacortes/San Juan Islands, Point Defiance/Tahlequah, and Mukilteo/Clinton routes are closest to their 2019 numbers.

WSF continues to restore service on a route-by-route basis, as outlined in its COVID-19 Service Restoration Plan.

“Unfortunately, our crewing levels are not at a point yet where we can begin adding full service back to our next route — the Edmonds/Kingston route — even on a trial basis,” said Patty Rubstello, head of WSF. “Doing so would put our restored runs in jeopardy. Until then, we will continue to add a second vessel to that route daily as crewing allows.”

WSF said that there will be holiday schedule changes for the Anacortes/San Juan Islands and Point Defiance/Tahlequah routes — as well as the Edmonds/Kingston route if supplemental service is added — on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5.

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Washington ferry ridership at highest since start of pandemic