Update by Brian Bundridge: M/V Wenatchee is now back in service as of the Friday afternoon commute. Thanks for Todd Shipyard for the quick turnaround!
We here at Seattle Transit Blog haven’t really covered a lot in terms of ferry news. The accident involving the M/V Wenatchee on Sunday has caught my attention with the heavy activity in the news regarding the ferry service. Like my Amtrak Cascades posts, I will post monthly or bi-monthly updates, along with news regarding ferries.
- The accident involving the M/V Wenatchee is still yet to be determined. The heavy fog this time of year is quite uncommon. (At least according to the Farmers Almanac) WSF is hopeful that the Wenatchee will be back in service before Labor Day Weekend.
- Victoria Express is providing two 149-passenger foot ferries which will shuttle passengers between Seattle and Bremerton. For schedule information, please check out WSF’s page regarding the shuttle service
- The ferry shuffle once again dinged the Bremerton route. The 124-car Kitsap will provide the sole service on this route until further notice. The normal ferry, the Hyak, will serve the Edmonds/Kingston route until further notice. The 202-car Puyallup will serve the Seattle/Bainbridge route which will restore its service back to normal capacity.
- WSF has moved forward with procuring two additional 64-car ferries and the bid going out this fall. Depending on the money saved, WSF may seek to procure a 144-car ferry instead of a 64-car ferry.
- The first 64-car ferry is well under construction at Todd Shipyards! Its sea trials are expected Summer 2010 and service on the Port Townsend/Keystone route.
- WSF is also pursuing one or two 144-car ferries which will be based on the Issaquah Class vessel. The 144-car vessels will be used on various routes throughout the ferry system.
- Currently in drydock, the 87-car M/V Klahowya and 188-car M/V Walla Walla for scheduled maintenance (16kb PDF). There are no backup vessels available to fill in gaps in service.
In other news, Washington State Ferries released their long-range plan (2mb PDF) in June 2009. This plan goes over the future of the ferry system, capital funding issues, terminal upgrades and when vessels will be “up-sized” to support heavier traffic, etc. The worst part about the plan is the deferred new terminals at Edmonds (year 2029) and Mukilteo (year 2017). Both of these terminals were critical components to North Sounder and increasing ridership on the train. The City of Edmonds may proceed and build the new station with WSF’s assistance.
WSF is also looking at ways to add a reservation system to certain ferry routes. Currently, the Port Townsend/Keystone route is on a trial reservation system. Because of the small size of the ferry, this boat is very hard to get on if you want to take a casual drive via Deception Pass, etc. Between now and 2030, WSF will be adding 10 boats and retiring 7 boats (The Evergreen State, Rhododendron Class boats, along with the Kaleetan and Yakima Super Ferry Class boats)
That is all the goodies I have for now! I will be sure to update as soon as I hear that the Wenatchee is back and also, feel free to chime in about ferry news! It is something I hope to cover along with the heavy rail end of things more frequently.