WA Ferries experiences high demand for summer reservations

Apr 25, 2023, 3:50 PM | Updated: 3:53 pm

WA ferries summer reservations...

Ferry in service in the San Juan Islands off Seattle, Washington (Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

(Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

Washington State Ferries (WSF) released 30% of its ferry reservations for summer travel to Port Townsend and the San Juan Islands Tuesday morning, and because of high demand and an archaic website, the agency experienced issues. Riders who tried to make reservations were frustrated as all the spots were snatched right up. 

“It’s nice to be popular at state ferries,” said WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling. “Sometimes we are a little too popular. There was a big rush to get summer reservations, and it’s super busy out there. We are making tens of thousands of reservations.”

Sterling said reservations are offered on two different routes, Port Townsend and San Juan Islands, but the demand was incredibly high.

So will the agency upgrade their website?

“That’s a fair critique,” explained Sterling. “We are a state government agency. We aren’t Amazon or Google.

“It doesn’t matter how big the company is or how much money you have, when you have that much of a demand spike, it’s hard to make everyone happy.”

If you weren’t able to get a reservation today, you can still get one Wednesday or later this week when things slow down.

Here are some tips to getting a reservation:

  1. Travel mid-week.
  2. Travel early in the morning.
  3. Travel during off-peak weekends.
  4. Make sure you are signed up for WSF alerts and follow them on social media to get a heads up.
  5. If you can, walk on instead of driving onto the ferry.
  6. Try stand-by (not on a Friday during a holiday weekend).

The first day of summer reservations is always the busiest reservation day of the year.

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WA Ferries experiences high demand for summer reservations