stylized map of the Strait Shot
Travel poster style map by the author

Easier car-free getaways to the Olympic Peninsula begin Saturday, June 17 when Clallam Transit inaugurates the “Strait Shot” daily direct bus service between Port Angeles and the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal. STB previously covered the service in detail, which is a 75-mile route using 40-passenger transit buses making five intermediate stops.

There will be a morning roundtrip and an evening roundtrip Monday to Saturday and an evening round trip on Sunday. Adult fare is $10 per person each way and $5 for children and Regional Reduced Fare Permit card holders. Fare must be paid in exact cash only; ORCA cards are not accepted. Limited space is available for bicycles on a first-come, first-served basis. The bus is scheduled to complete the trip in two hours, making it competitive with driving.

The Strait Shot is a more convenient option than the existing 5-seat local transit ride and costs less than the Dungeness Line. From Port Angeles, riders can connect to other Clallam Transit buses that can take them to Forks (with onward connections to Neah Bay and La Push) or walk over to the Black Ball ferry to Victoria, B.C. Buses are timed to meet with the Bainbridge ferry and will wait for late ferries. More information is available in the full schedule. You can also plan your trip in Google Maps.

53 Replies to “The Strait Shot Begins June 17”

  1. Having just used the Black Ball ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria for a day trip on Memorial Day weekend – this is a great route option for a two-way or one-way trip.

    We bicycled from Seattle to Whidbey Friday after work, biked Whidbey to PA on Saturday, Day trip to Butchart Gardens on Sunday, biked home via Hood Canal Bridge and Bainbridge ferry on Memorial Day.

    1. That was my first thought as well! Either they have someone in-house with some crazy good graphic arts skills, or they hired out to a good firm. So nice…and worthy of a travel poster collector’s stash.

      1. Oh, it’s Oran’s work! It’s a great poster, so good that I was shocked it was (I thought) produced by a small, local transit agency that probably doesn’t have a budget for such things. They should definitely use it, it makes me want to use the service without even needing it.

    2. It’s kind of 60s modern like the World’s Fair. And just two angles, top-left for the line and the eastern coastline, and top-right for everything else, forming an X. There’s also an accidental VW symbol in the bottom middle, or almost a half swastika.

    3. Yes! The almost 50-50 coverage between light green and light blue is beautiful. The angles are also great!

      The only minor thing I might change is the bright red line. A darker red shade might have been better. I don’t know the branding color scheme though.

  2. Extremely limited amount of service, very small buses, no reservations. This could be either an experiment or a tactic.

    Problem with overloads and strandings could give bright green light to more and larger buses. And a reservation system. Fingers crossed the money’s already in the bank and the extra buses warming up in the garage.

    Wish Clallam best of luck with an overdue, pioneering service. But I’d have both a hotel room and a rental car booked for the first six months or so. Or- if ferry from PA to Victoria is still running, tickets on the Victoria Clipper.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Forty passengers isn’t that small. These are probably 30 footers which is probably the biggest bus Clallam has.

      1. The route will be served by our 40-foot Gilligs: 39 or 40 seats, depending upon configuration, most with reclining seats, 3-position bike racks, and (small) overhead storage bins and lighting. We’re offering as much service as we can on the route to start (staffing being the limiting factor at an agency with only about 35 Transit Operators covering a service area that is 150 miles wide). If The Strait Shot proves incredibly popular, however, we’re certainly prepared to consider necessary frequency and staffing adjustments.

        Steve Hopkins
        Operations and Planning Manager
        Clallam Transit System

    2. When you have 49% of the vote, it is a bit problematic that you have to rely on a fringe party to gain control.

      I’m thrilled this service is starting up (I grew up in PA, so I’ve used the 5-bus transfer game a number of times over the years), but this is incredibly optimistic. If this service is running at 50-60% capacity after six months, I’d consider that a huge win.

      1. Problem with overloads and strandings could give bright green light to more and larger buses.

        OK, double screwup; I meant to quote and italicize this statement. The 49% thing is a cut and paste from another blog. Sigh.

    3. Whidbey Island route 1 has been running across the island for years with I gather a single bus and and I haven’t heard of overcrowding problems. That’s just the population of the west sound, the willingness to take transit, and the land use that puts people far from bus stops.

    4. It should at least provide bicycle reservations. This could be quite dangerous if someone has to overnight in an unfamiliar area because their bike cannot be accommodated.

  3. Everything about this is great, I love it. The schedule flyer, in particular, is clear and well designed. The only thing I wish for at this point would be a published, timed connection to Port Townsend from Discovery Bay. Long term, I hope the service florishes and additional trips can be added.

    1. The only thing I wish for at this point would be a published, timed connection to Port Townsend from Discovery Bay.

      Why would anyone use this service for that? If you want to get to Port Townsend, you’ve already got a 2-seat ride from Bainbridge with a timed transfer that ‘s faster and cheaper. The same is true for Port Angeles to PT–a cheaper 2-seat ride with timed transfers already exists.

      1. Last I looked, KT 90 -> JT 7 route was about 1:45 westbound. This route is about 1:00 to Discovery Bay. It seems like it should be possible to get from DB to PT in less than 45 mins.

        The cost of any of these trips is minimal compared to driving. The question (to me) is whether it’s fast enough to compete. I would cheerfully pay (say) $15 one-way cash fare to get an guaranteed, limited-stop connection to PT.

      2. From the 9:35 ferry, 90—>7 gets you to PT at 11:54. New bus gets to Discovery Bay at 11:20. The 8 is scheduled for 20-25 minutes for that trip, and while it makes some local stops you’re not going to shave off much time there; that’s already not much slower than a typical drive time.

        So we’re talking about maybe saving as much as 10 minutes. If it were relatively cost-free to rejigger the 8 schedule to make that connection, OK, but I don’t see how this would justify new service. I’m relatively well-off, but I wouldn’t consider paying 4X the cost in the hope of saving 10 minutes of travel time.

  4. This is great, although with only 3 bike spots, even 2 people can’t really depend on getting on. Bolt style buses with rack on front would help. But I imagine those are more expensive to buy and operate?


        Should work on LINK. Where they’ll call attention to the generally empty third car. Especially if it also has bike racks inside. That way, everybody on board can watch their bike.

        Not sure if SLU or FHS will push them. Might be better for driver to be in the trailer-pushing bike car on LINK too, to watch loading and unloading.

        Really do wonder what’s involved in designing and manufacturing a workable bike trailer for a transit bus.

        Terrific industry to have in Seattle, joining steel, coffee, beer, and vodka in the small-industrial recovery, which will not only take massive votes away from the far right by providing jobs paying enough to de-capitalize word “affordable.”

        And also Make America Great Again by having Ballard back.


      2. Sorry but the “generally empty third car” was a headline two months ago. Now, it’s only a memory.

  5. The cash only thing is kinda retro, and annoying. This service would be A+ if it was ORCA friendly.

    1. Unfortunately, Clallam Transit isn’t a member of the Orca pod.

      For it to actually be A+, it’d need more than two trips a day – but I can completely understand the infrequent service. I hope ridership isn’t strangled by that, and there’ll eventually be more trips.

  6. As someone who gree up in Port Angeles, still has family there, and is carless in Seattle, this route is tailor-made for exactly my needs. I’ve taken that 5-seat ride a fair number of times.

    And I absolutely need a copy of that poster.

    1. Right click on the image and choose “save image as”. Then choose the destination folder and what you want to name it. Very quick.

    2. I updated the post to include a link to a print quality image (8.5×11). Just click on the map and it will take you to Flickr where you can click the download button (down arrow) and pick Original. Enjoy and share!

  7. Great poster! Remember taking Greyhound that exact same routing in 1992 after getting off the ferry from Victoria. Greyhound also went from Seattle to Anacortes then, so it was a good way for us to visit the San Juans without a car.

  8. This makes a round-trip, carless trip to Victoria cost only ~$65. Would probably take about an hour and a half longer than the Victoria Clipper, but still, that’s pretty boss.

    1. And also, some people don’t mind taking a bit longer and looking at the penninsula forests and towns along the way. I once took the Greyhound coast route to San Francisco for that reason even though the I-5 route would have been faster.

      (The coast route no longer exists. It went from Portland to Cannon Beach, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Newport Brookings, to (California) Crescent City, Eureka, Santa Rosa, to SF. Glenn, is it still feasible to go down the Oregon Coast that way? Greyhound doesn’t tell you what other companies might have service now.)

      1. There is still a gap from Florence to Yachats but that will be covered by a Lane Transit District bus starting this July.

        From Florence south, you can connect to Curry County Coastal Express to Smith River , and then Redwood Coast Transit into California and further.

      2. To add to the above, you can actually buy a joint one week pass to almost everything north of Yachats:
        Including Columbia River from Portland to Kelso west to Astoria.

        One exception not covered by the pass is POINT:
        Northwest Oregon POINT is the state run bus service using longer distance buses that does the Portland Union Station to Cannon Beach, Seaside and Astoria route. Joint ticket with Amtrak or Greyhound.

      3. Thank you @Glenn for that helpful information. I was able to navigate my way east of Portland recently using the weekend bus to Multnomah Falls and the SAM to Mt Hood, but haven’t ventured westward toward the Oregon coast yet. The old Greyhound Portland-SFO coast route I took in the late 90s left Portland very late evening and arrived in Arcata early next morning–not very useful for those who wanted to visit the Oregon coast. But I remember how nice it was to smell the ocean all night.

    2. I would definitely take this to the Victoria ferry. There should be a similar way to get to the Anacortes ferry. Alaska ferry you can get to easily by train.

      1. Belair Airporter has a service that goes to the Anacortes ferry terminal.

        I took it once. The timed connection in Burlington didn’t work as the main North-South bus was stuck in traffic south of Bellingham and it finally got to Sea-Tac two hours late due to a traffic jam extending southward from Marysville to somewhere in downtown Seattle.

        What they need for Anacortes is a bus that runs later at night that connects with the southbound Cascades train at Mount Vernon.

  9. As the Operations and Planning Manager for Clallam Transit, I’m eager to welcome transit tourists aboard The Strait Shot starting on June 17th. This is Clallam Transit’s first-ever service beyond the county line, so we’re very excited about the opportunities it presents. We are certainly aware of flaws in certain connections and we know that other issues — bathrooms, bags, and bikes being the primary ones — will need to be worked out. However, I hope that you’ll give our service a chance and come explore Clallam County, Olympic National Park, and the Pacific Coast this summer via The Strait Shot and the rest of Clallam Transit’s route network.

  10. I’m curious about the connection with the Coho ferry, if I recall it worked well in one direction (I want to say it was the Saturday morning) but wasn’t ideal the other direction (I think it was Sunday afternoon).

    1. The Coho’s schedule changes multiple times per year, so it was much harder for us to coordinate that connection. We planned our arrival/departure times expressly around the WSF schedule at Bainbridge Island because nearly 100% of the route’s passengers need that connection and WSF’s schedule on that route is relatively constant. Only a fraction of the Strait Shot’s passengers will look to make the Coho connection, however, so for the moment it’s not as seamless as I’d like. We’ll keep our eye on it, though, and attempt to improve the connection to Victoria in future.

  11. Is it wheelchair accessible? In my experience, city buses are and intercity buses like Greyhound aren’t. IItwould be helpful to make it clear.

    1. The buses I was on both ways had a lift and a passenger area for people in wheelchairs.

  12. Will there PLEASE be a bathroom on this bus going to Port Angeles from Bainbridge….

    1. According to the schedule, there isn’t, probably because Clallam Transit doesn’t have any buses with restrooms and they want to get it started soon. I’d prefer one with a restroom too if all else were equal, but I’m glad they aren’t waiting.

  13. This sounds awesome! I’m curious how the route will stay on time during summertime stand still traffic on the single-lane highway around Hood Canal. In particular northbound Friday/Saturday and southbound Sundays.

  14. I just rode the Strait Shot to visit my parents in Sequim. It seemed pretty popular for a new route- there were maybe 8 or 9 people on the Westbound trip yesterday morning, and probably 20 this morning Eastbound. It really wasn’t any slower than driving from Seattle would have been, and it was a lot cheaper too- especially when you figure in the cost of getting a Zipcar overnight and taking it on the ferry.

    1. Thanks for the report! Let’s hope it gets even more popular, so they can meet their goals of full cost recovery.

      How close was it to being on-time?

      1. It’d say it was pretty bang on schedule. Eastbound, it waited until the Bainbridge ferry turned around and went back to Seattle so that everyone had time to get on. Westbound, it showed up to Sequim Transit Center about 5 minutes early, so there was time for folks to have a bathroom break (no guarantees of that one, but it’s nice of the driver to let people off and back on to use the toilets there).

        It arrived about 15 minutes before the Bainbridge ferry left for Seattle at 9:40 am today.

        I don’t know what it’ll be like on those gorgeous summer days when everyone in the world wants to drive on 101 though!

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