The new ferry schedule drew a lot of attention last fall and winter, and it will be implemented soon. After the transition of the first few weeks, we will all finally have a sense of how well the schedule serves the route as a whole and the island in particular.
First things first. It is important that islanders look at the schedule and adjust their travel plans accordingly. This is the first major schedule change in more than 15 years, and the fewer surprises for people, the better. Just as important is that islanders and visitors who use Metro buses to get around the island need to know change is coming for them too, even if they never set foot on a ferry. The new bus schedule goes into effect Saturday, March 30 — the day before the new ferry schedule starts. There are many changes to the bus schedule, and almost certainly, there will be people stranded along bus routes, waiting for a ride that never comes. We think, as people settle in to the new schedule, it would be a great service of the Community Van to respond to stranded bus riders and, when possible, get them where they are going. For now, riders may find it helpful to look at Metro’s Trip Planner online, type in their correct date of travel, and begin to learn about the schedule changes. Bus riders who have not done so may also wish to sign up for service alerts from King County Metro. Metro also takes customer feedback online and over the phone. People who have problems with the new schedule should feel free to call and report those problems.
Next, we hope islanders will keep track of what works for them and what does not with the ferry schedule and then plan to attend the Vashon Ferry Advisory Committee meeting at 7 p.m. April 24 (location still to be determined.) The three island volunteers who make up the Vashon Ferry Advisory Committee are dedicating time to hear from people about their experiences with the new schedule — but they can only do so if islanders share information with them. As the ferry story on page 1 says, they are looking for themes they will need to follow up on in the hopes of better serving islanders.
Coming up at the end of May, Washington State Ferries will host a public meeting on the island. Several items are expected to be on the agenda, including the Long-Range Plan, an update on the 2019 legislative session, the Fauntleroy terminal project and the new Triangle Route Schedule. Expect to see the date for that announced this week — and plan to attend and speak up — succinctly and politely if you have something to say.
In the meantime, let’s be mindful that an important element of many people’s days is going to be changing. Some people will no doubt see improvements in their transportation schedules. But others are going to face challenges and may need some help, whether that is a listening ear or a ride home. Let’s remember what has been true all along: We are all in this together.