Ferries responds to Triangle route concerns

The Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth Route Frequently Asked Questions document is seven pages long

Washington State Ferries last week released a document responding to more than 30 questions and comments from residents who live in the Triangle Route’s three communities.

The Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth Route Frequently Asked Questions document is seven pages long and was compiled from meetings held earlier this fall in Fauntleroy, Southworth and Vashon. From ferry alerts and technology upgrades to the Fauntleroy dock and schedule changes, the report lays out the challenges the system faces and hints at future plans.

At the Vashon public meeting in September, hundreds of islanders voiced their frustrations with the ferry system and asked a variety of questions, including whether the state’s Good to Go! tolling system could be implemented at Ferry docks and if there were any plans to expand the Fauntleroy dock. According to the document posted on the Washington State Ferries (WSF) website last Thursday, WSF will include recommendations on technology options “for improving operations and efficiency across the system” in its 2040 Long Range Plan. But Ferries notes its fare structure would need to be simplified if Good to Go! were to be implemented as the system does not have the ability to count passengers in vehicles.

“This lost revenue would need to be captured in other ways,” the FAQ document indicates.

As for improvements or expansion at the Fauntleroy dock, officials say that many of the suggested changes to the terminal, including additional parking and the number of tollbooths and their orientation, will be studied as part of the Fauntleroy Terminal Trestle and Transfer Span Replacement Project. The terminal is scheduled to be replaced by 2027, with preliminary engineering and environmental review for the project set to begin in early 2018 and construction starting in 2025.

Addressing the schedule, Ferries officials say in the document that schedule changes will happen by spring 2019 when the Triangle Route is set to receive one more 124-car Issaquah class ferry.

The public outreach process to gather feedback on proposed schedule changes is expected to begin in mid-2018.