Half a million ferry passengers expected this holiday season

Dec 20, 2023, 3:28 PM

ferry passengers holiday season...

M/V Elwha Approaching Anacortes. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Ferries via Flickr)

(Photo courtesy of Washington State Ferries via Flickr)

Washington State Ferry (WSF) passengers are already dealing with delayed and canceled sailings, crew shortages and out-of-service ferries. Now comes the busiest time of the holiday season.

Ferry officials said they expect more than half a million people to take a ferry between now and the end of the year. That’s likely to make existing challenges even more challenging.

More on ferries in WA: “It’s ferry Tetris,” Washington ferry issues leave passengers stranded overnight

“It’s tough. That’s why we show up an hour early. It’s a crapshoot,” ferry passenger Mike Zaiss said. “So, what are we going to do now, right? Just continue to gamble on whether we’re going to get home on time or not.”

Currently, 38% of vessels in the fleet are reportedly out of service for various reasons. Only 75% of ferry crossings were on time last quarter.

Staffing has also been a big issue. Retirements and other work separations have led to the loss of more than 140 employees. Some passengers who depend on the ferry say maybe it’s time Washington tries something new.

“They should privatize the ferry system, right,” passenger Mike Zaiss said. “Because Amazon wouldn’t be running late if he owned some ferries.”

In the meantime, ferry officials suggest getting the Washington State DOT app for rider alerts and a real-time map to track boats and times.

More from James Lynch: 40+ year old bones identified as victim of Green River Killer

“Like last night, I got off work and checked my phone to make sure I had plenty of time for the next ferry,” passenger Megan Martin said. “It was going to be a two-boat wait before I would be able to even get on.”

Good advice if you’re traveling by ferry between now and the end of the year.

MyNorthwest News

Image: A truck crashed into a home in the Esperance neighborhood of Edmonds on Thursday, May 23, 20...

Steve Coogan

Truck crashes into Edmonds home, injuring 1 and causing $150K in damage

A truck that was towing a travel trailer crashed into a home in the Esperance neighborhood of Edmonds late Thursday morning, according to the area regional fire authority. South County Fire reported in a post on X that the truck was parked when it started rolling down hill toward the the home around 11 a.m. […]

7 hours ago

Image: A Seattle Police Department vehicle can be seen parked near some yellow police tape....

Steve Coogan

Woman shot in her bed while her child was next to her in West Seattle

A woman was shot and injured and her child was nearly hit when bullets penetrated the bedroom wall of their West Seattle home Wednesday.

8 hours ago

kimonti carter...

Matt Markovich

Washington Supreme Court rejects bid to return convicted murderer, documentary star to prison

The Washington State Supreme Court rejected an effort to send convicted murderer Kimonti Dennis Carter back to prison on Thursday.

11 hours ago

Image:The headquarters of Live Nation is shown June 29, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California. The Jus...

Associated Press

Government sues Ticketmaster owner and asks court to break up company’s monopoly on live events

The DOJ has accused Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment of running an illegal monopoly over live events in America.

15 hours ago

two-year-old stray bullet...

Frank Sumrall

2-year-old hit with stray bullet in Skyway apartment shooting, in critical condition

A two-year-old is in the hospital after being hit by a stray bullet in Skyway Thursday morning, according to responding law enforcement.

16 hours ago

missing girl bonney lake...

Frank Sumrall

16-year-old girl from Bonney Lake still missing, not seen in five weeks

The missing girl, Hayden Locke, was last seen leaving her home on April 16 in Bonney Lake, Washington. She's been missing for 38 days as of this reporting.

17 hours ago

Half a million ferry passengers expected this holiday season