Passengers on the triangle route are among the least satisfied ferry riders in the system. (Susan Riemer/Staff Photo)

Passengers on the triangle route are among the least satisfied ferry riders in the system. (Susan Riemer/Staff Photo)

Study shows triangle route passengers’ dissatisfaction with ferry service

Riders traveling the triangle route were among the most dissatisfied of ferry travelers who responded to the recent winter ferry performance study conducted by Washington State Ferries (WSF).

More than 4,000 respondents took part in the latest Ferry Riders Opinion Group (FROG) survey, which was conducted between March and April regarding riders’ experiences in January through March. While 76 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with ferry service, 16 percent said they were dissatisfied. The highest dissatisfaction rate — 39 percent — came from passengers of the Vashon-Southworth route, which had a small number of respondents, just 22. Vashon-Fauntleroy passengers followed, with 30 percent of 273 respondents saying they were dissatisfied. Passengers on the inter-island San Juan route followed in their dissatisfaction, with 27 percent of 63 respondents saying they were unhappy.

On Vashon, south-end riders were more content with their ferry service than their north-end counterparts, with 11 percent of 88 respondents saying they were dissatisfied. In fact, this route had the lowest dissatisfaction rating of all the routes in the system, followed by Seattle-Bainbridge, with just 13 percent dissatisfied.

Overall, 64 percent of ferry riders say that WSF is a good value, but those numbers were also lower on Vashon, with just 46 percent of respondents on the Point Defiance-Tahlequah route saying they believe it provides a good value and 39 percent saying that is true for Faunteroy-Vashon service.

According to the survey, most riders (71 percent) between Southworth and Vashon use the ferry to commute to work, compared to about half of all riders between Fauntleroy and Vashon. System wide, the route with the largest percent of commuters (78 percent) is the Fauntleroy-Southworth route. The route with the least percentage of commuters is the Coupeville-Port Townsend route.

Also getting notable marks for dissatisfaction was parking availability near terminals, comfort of terminals, bathroom cleanliness and processing of vehicles. Several comments were included about the Fauntleroy terminal, which 45 percent of respondents said they were unhappy with, considering it uncomfortable and often cold, and inefficient, with slow processing of cars and boats that leave partially full despite long lines of cars waiting.

— Susan Riemer

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