The West Seattle Water Taxi resumes its daily runs this Monday. Note that the new downtown stop is at Pier 50 (Alaskan and Yesler). Rider information is here.

There is also a “celebration” in Seacrest Park on the 11th.

26 Replies to “Water Taxi Resumes Monday”

  1. The new vessel, MV Rachel Marie can cruise at 24 knots, whereas the old Sightseer did about a third of that. The Seattle-Vashon run uses a sister ship with bigger engines and a higher cruising speed (28 knots.) I imagine they won’t run these at top speed, in order to limit fuel consumption. (70 gallons per hour at cruising speed adds up fast!)

  2. One-way fare is $3 for ORCA users. Is it safe to assume that transfer value from MT/ST, if applicable, will be applied toward the fare?

  3. In the past it has been free if you have any kind of PugetPass but then more expensive if you don’t. That way commuters pay their regular transit fare but tourists pay a steeper price. This seemed like a great system, but it sounds like it’s no longer what they have… Why did they change it?

    1. You may use a PugetPass, ORCA card or cash to pay King County Water Taxi fares. As you board the vessel, either show your PugetPass, tap your ORCA card on the card reader held by a crew member, or deposit the exact cash fare in the fare box.

      ORCA fare is $3, so depending on the value of your pass, the ride may cost a few cents (or if you have E-Purse it’ll cost you $3).

      Why did it change? Simple: the service is now being operated by KCFD and not Metro.

  4. The old boat was leased from Argosy. The Sightseer was a beloved boat, but not clean and not fuel efficient. King County was forced to take over the Vashon route when the state got out. The new West Seattle boat is a sister boat to the Vashon boat which gives the Ferry District flexibility. There is also a new and vastly improved dock in West Seattle.

    1. I’d be curious to know the eccomomics of operating the W.Seattle water taxi, considering the leased boat, a crew of 3, 70 gal. of fuel an hour, the deadhead back, and throw in two free dart buses collecting passengers from Morgan Junction and Alki Pt. (each with another crew member).
      Sure seems like a bus route with some priority could do an equal or better job providing someone a ride to the CBD at a lower unit cost.

      1. If local bus service + RapidRide C beats travel+wait time from major starting points for the Water Taxi, then by all means, retire the line.

        The same goes true for the Vashon foot ferry, except that I’d like to see the Vashon/Southworth/Fauntleroy circle be reduced to one car ferry, and have the foot ferry provide the rest of the service. Indeed, I’d prefer to see only one car ferry on every ferry run, and have foot ferries be the standard second or even third vessel on all cross-Sound routes.

        If the Comptroller can crunch the numbers, I bet it would be a significant savings.

  5. Considering WSF dosent take PugetPasses, and considering the KCFD is a seperate agency it will be intresting to see if PugetPass and FlexPass products are accepted, or if they are epurse/custom passes only like WSF.

  6. Mike, they discussed all of this is setting the budget last fall. The per rider cost INCLUDING the shuttle buses is about twice the Metro system average, but ahead of many of the bus lines we currently run.

    And there is no deadhead. Ridership is strong both directions with a strong tourist and staycation draw in Alki and the Junction.

    Multiple modes of transportation are the key to a successful transit system. Different people will ride ferries or trains that won’t get on buses. And no mode looks good at inception–look at Sounder, the streetcar, and more.

    Both the Vashon route and the West Seattle route are strong performing routes that are important parts of the transit solution for an area more severely affected by the viaduct construction than any other.

    1. One thing that is often missed in the discussions is how West Seattle will be impacted by Viaduct construction: immensely.

      Buses and carpools both will be stuck in traffic backups, which are estimated to begin with the closure of the 1st Ave onramp to the West Seattle Bridge. The ferry provides a regular alternative transit option for people. I am very glad for the ferry, for although I travel via bicycle sometimes I need to get to West Seattle by a particular time and a bus that’s caught in traffic won’t cut it. I think that the ferry will prove to be a huge plus for the area – even more than it is now.

    1. Depending on where they live, students, staff, and faculty can probably get more direct service on the 133. It’s a bit of a walk from Pier 55 to the tunnel to catch a 70-something.

      1. It actually wouldn’t be that indirect. They’re at Pier 50 this year and you’d then just transfer to the 66. That said, I’m not sure I’d disagree with UW since there are reasonable alternatives.

      2. The 66 would be 11 minutes slower. Comparison times here (add 2 minutes to the Pioneer Square departure time to get the University Street departure time). I guess that’s not that bad since it would take at least 8 minutes to walk to University Street Station.

      3. I may be a bit biased since I lived on the 66 line for years and also tend to avoid the tunnel whenever possible (annoying to have to kill 10 minutes in an area where I have no cell service and can’t brouse the web, check bus arrivals on OneBusAway, etc, etc).

      4. Since the mayor is big on wiring the city, maybe he has a plan to have cell phone relay and WiFi in the tunnel stations. That way, we could check STB online to find all the delay and reroute info that Metro won’t let us know over the underutilized tunnel loudspeaker system.

    2. I don’t see anything indicating they take a FlexPass either, though I assume
      they are phasing those out in deference to Orca. Only FlexPass I found listed as accepted was a flexpass/king count employee id combo.

      1. You may use a PugetPass, ORCA card or cash to pay King County Water Taxi fares. As you board the vessel, either show your PugetPass, tap your ORCA card on the card reader held by a crew member, or deposit the exact cash fare in the fare box.

        I suppose a FlexPass would work if it was shown upon boarding.

      2. I don’t think so. It did when it was metro, but I don’t think so now that it’s not metro. Couldn’t find anything explicit about the West Seattle ferry, but according to the orca wesbsite it’s definitely not on the Vason foot ferry:

        Your FlexPass is an annual pass that your employer provides under contract with Metro. The contract does not include fares for the Vashon Island/Downtown Seattle Water Taxi, so FlexPasses are not accepted. Employers will be converting their FlexPass accounts to ORCA between mid-2009 and mid-2010. When an employer converts its employee transit benefit to ORCA, it will be accepted on Ferry District service. Check with your employee transportation coordinator to discuss the timing of the employer’s transition to ORCA and plans for employee commute benefits.

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