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Ferry schedule changes discussed at open house

Islanders Ellen Kritzman, left, and Eric Perlman, right, talk with Benjamin Smith, Washington State Ferries’ service planning manager, at Saturday’s open house. - Natalie Johnson/Staff Photo
Islanders Ellen Kritzman, left, and Eric Perlman, right, talk with Benjamin Smith, Washington State Ferries’ service planning manager, at Saturday’s open house.
— image credit: Natalie Johnson/Staff Photo

Dozens of islanders dropped by Ober Park on Saturday, when officials from Washington State Ferries (WSF) came armed with several boards full of statistics on the north-end ferry schedule and answered questions about why and how the agency plans to rewrite the schedule.

The state announced last month that it will add a larger ferry to the route next fall and at the same time eliminate some runs throughout the day. The new boat configuration and sailing schedule, officials say, will allow the ferries to carry the same number of cars throughout the day while more easily keeping to the schedule on a route that has become known for frequently falling behind.

At the open house, some questioned whether the agency might accomplish the same thing without changing the schedule.

Dwight McCabe, a commuter who came to the open house, said he understands WSF’s situation but was worried the change would mean longer lines and longer waits. He believes WSF should work on improving loading and unloading efficiency instead.

“They’re focusing on the wrong thing,” he said.

WSF officials have said that even efficiency improvements at Fauntleroy wouldn’t eliminate the delays that are common on the route.

— Natalie Johnson

 

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