WSF releases spring ferry schedule

Schedule will reduce service from Vashon to Fauntleroy.

Eight days after hundreds of islanders attended a ferry meeting in West Seattle concerned about the proposed schedule for the Triangle Route, Washington State Ferries released the same draft of the schedule unchanged, deeming it final.

Last Thursday, shortly after the schedule’s release, WSF spokesperson Hadley Rodero indicated that no comments at the meeting or afterward led WSF to make adjustments.

“The majority of the comments we received were focused on urging WSF to review the pendulum schedule and meet with its authors. We didn’t receive significant input on any other specific feasible changes,” she said in an email.

She did not indicate what WSF considered “feasible changes.”

The schedule, slated to go into effect March 31, will include dual destination sailings from Fauntleroy to Southworth during the peak afternoon commute. There will also be reduced sailings Monday through Friday in the evening hours from Vashon to Fauntleroy. Between 2 and 11 p.m., there will be eight sailings compared to the current 12. The largest gap is between 6:45 and 8:20 p.m. Travel to Fauntleroy within that period will require going to Southworth first.

Previously, representatives of the chamber of commerce expressed concern about schedule reductions, which may make it more difficult for visitors to support island businesses and for those businesses to hire off-island workers.

After WSF announced its decision on Dec. 20, Rick Wallace, who has been part of the effort to have WSF adopt a pendulum schedule and is one of the people behind the large turnout at the meeting two weeks ago, said he and others will determine next steps.

“We are going to take a pause and think, and in all likelihood, we will convene a group of Vashon community leaders to create a plan for going forward, he said.

On the VashonsOnlyRoad website, Wallace posted an update the same afternoon.

There, he stated that he and Steve Stockett, who created the pendulum schedule, believe that there are two major flaws that need fixing. One is the reduced sailings off Vashon, and the other is a 4:10 p.m. sailing from Fautleroy, which will go to Southworth first. The Vashon passengers on that sailing will, in fact, get to the island after the passengers on the next sailing at 4:35 p.m.

“The net effect will be to waste a boat as customers attempt to work around this conundrum,” Wallace wrote.

Wallace also noted he and Stockett had met with Ferries last week about the pendulum schedule, noting the meeting was “not what we hoped for.”

Meanwhile, in WSF’s schedule announcement ferry officials also said they met with Stockett and Wallace and encouraged Triangle Route users to continue sending comments.

“Our planners committed to monitoring the performance of the schedule going forward and encouraged the pendulum schedule authors and others to continue providing feedback,” they wrote.