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Save our Ferries
The rally in Olympia, got on the front pages and in the evening news. Woo Hoo!
Your questions answered!
WSF’s Ops Manager, Steve Rodgers, will be at the Fire Station for Q&A at 6:30 on March 2. Please come!
Mind the gap?
Last month we lampooned the gaps between the glass panels at our terminal. The reason for the gaps is to relieve the wind pressure.
Edmonds boat diversion
During the May/June Hood Canal Bridge closure, our weekday 8:40 p.m. Edmonds boat will go to Port Townsend instead of Kingston … don’t get on! It will leave Port Townsend at 10:40 PM for Edmonds. This boat normally ties up after the 8:40 departure so the net loss is one Kingston trip.
Ferry Plan Update
WSF’s Ferry Plan is off to the Legislature. A copy is at the library and on the WSF Web site. Four items directly affect Kingston:
Reservations: This looks sure to happen in 2011 ‒ 2013 (weekends) and full time after that. It phases in from part of the boat reserved to 90 percent-plus reserved. It’s not as bad as it sounds. The details are in Appendix G.
Fuel Price Surcharge: This also looks sure to happen. WSF bases fares on projected fuel prices. That portion of the fare would go up and down as fuel prices change. For example, initially the surcharge will be $0 with diesel at a projected cost of $2.15/gal. When diesel prices go up, the surcharge would cover the increase. As fuel is about one-fifth of a ferry’s operating costs, a 25 percent increase in diesel would mean a 5 percent surcharge. When fuel went down, the surcharge would go down with it and go away when diesel fell to $2.15/gal.
Eliminate weekday night service, mid-Oct through mid-May: This is WSF’s dastardly Plan “B” which the legislature said is only a wake-up call, not a serious proposal. If it did happen our last boats would be the 8:40 p.m. from Edmonds, (Monday ‒ Thursday) and the 11:20 p.m. boat (Sundays and holidays). Friday and Saturday would stay the same.
Moving a toll booth: $600,000 is proposed to move a Kingston toll booth for no reason that we can discern. On the other hand, there’s no funding for the community’s low-cost proposal to use WSDOT’s downtown parking lot as holding area to solve our ferry traffic congestion … grrrrrr.
WSF proposes fare increases of 2.5 percent per year and the Legislature supports this. Our Transportation Commission, whose ferry expert calls riders “greedy little boys,” is insisting on 6 percent per year for five years then 2.5 per year afterward. They’re also hell bent for higher August and “peak hour” fares. WSF doesn’t support these proposals (yet) nor does the legislature but that may change and we should fight the possibility.
The governor’s cost-cutting proposal to reduce boards and commissions amazingly eliminates our $0 cost Ferry Advisory Committees (FACs) while keeping the $1.2M/yr Transportation Commission. The cartoon is our educated guess why. Bob Distler, the commission’s would-be ferry king, is campaigning to replace public ferry meetings and committees with on-board surveys like the one he ran last year. Unfortunately, not only did he advertise to the contractor the results he wanted in advance, but he also was judge, jury and bill payer for the survey process itself. Dumb contractors don’t stay in business.
The Legislature will decide the future of our ferries, fares and Ferry Advisory Committees this month. We need to contact the Governor and all the legislators that we can to influence their decisions. A ferry advocacy group, http://www.ferrywatch.org, has all the phone numbers, snail and e-mail addresses. Contact us at: 297-2945, firstname.lastname@example.org.