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We must speak up about proposed changes to service
Washington State Ferries intends to impose a new, stretched out, less user-friendly schedule on the Vashon/Fauntleroy/Southworth route in the fall of 2014. Several sailings would be eliminated, creating longer gaps between departures. WSF has several motives for this change, but the primary reason is its obligation to meet on-time performance parameters. Somewhere, much further down the list is WSF’s desire to meet its customer’s needs, helping us travel easily and efficiently over the sound. How else to explain WSF’s proposed schedule, allowing them to dependably stay on time, but at the expense of its customer’s time and ease of travel? If WSF really had our best interests in mind, it would leave no stone unturned to make the current route as efficient as possible. Only then would it install a schedule that is bound to reduce capacity and increase wait times during most of the day.
Vashon, Southworth and Fauntleroy ferry advocates have asked WSF for years to solve the slow loading and unloading problems at the Fauntleroy dock. They believe that current on-time performance could be improved and ferries would leave fully loaded if certain changes were made. Furthermore, they are sure those changes would minimize or eliminate delays when a second, slow-loading Issaquah class ferry is added to the route in 2014. Rather than address these root problems, WSF would simply obscure them by spacing out the schedule.
Don’t take my word for it. Study the schedules WSF has drafted and see how they would affect you. If we understand the problems they’d cause in advance of their implementation, we’ll have time to react and engage with WSF.
This is not a drill. We can avoid this coming service cut, but we must confront WSF en masse. Please plan on attending the WSF meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at McMurray Middle School.
— Todd Pearson