Ferry commuters face long lines this week due to emergency repairs

Ferry commuters will likely see long waits during peak hours on the north-end route through the rest of the week, and possibly longer. The route is on two-boat schedule until at least Friday after three ferries went out of service for emergency repairs.

The unusual number of dry-docked ferries has also promoted reduced service on the Seattle-Bremerton route.

“Customers should plan for longer waits and some delays,” said WSF spokeswoman Marta Coursey in a press release Monday.

The 124-car Issaquah and the 87-car Tillikum will serve the north end through Friday, with the 34-car Hiyu, a backup ferry, making unscheduled runs to help relieve pressure.

Coursey said the agency was unsure when the Vashon route will return to regular service. When ferries go in for repairs or maintenance, WSF often shuffles boats throughout the system, and Coursey said Monday that plans were still in flux.

The reduced service was implemented last weekend after three ferries were dry-docked for unexpected issues.

The 188-car Walla Walla, which typically serves the Seattle-Bremerton or Kingston-Edmonds route, was taken out of service in November when one of its motor was badly damaged in an accident during routine maintenance. More recently, the 90-car Sealth, which serves Bremerton, was taken out of service after a leaking seam was discovered in the hull, and the 87-car Klahowya, which serves Vashon, was pulled after a component connecting the engine and the generator failed.

Though it's unknown when Vashon will have three boats again, Coursey said the situation should improve next week. The Sealth is expected to return to service Monday, and the 202-car Tacoma, which was already dry-docked for scheduled maintenance, will return on Friday, “which should help alleviate the current service disruptions,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Klahowya will be out of service for repairs until January, and the Walla Walla, which needs a new engine, will return in the spring.


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