Local Information

'Tis the season for busy ferries

Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 09:22

Ian Sterling, WSF communications, 206-714-1556

Plan for extra holiday delays on Edmonds/Kingston, Mukilteo/Clinton routes

EDMONDS – Although it's been said many times, many ways – expect crowds and lines during peak ferry travel times this weekend. But this is no ordinary weekend – thousands more will be sailing for Christmas with reduced vehicle capacity on two routes.

Washington State Ferries expects many holiday passengers to sail westbound Friday, Dec. 22, and eastbound throughout the day Monday, Dec. 25, and Tuesday, Dec. 26.

To reduce or eliminate wait times, customers may consider walking on the ferry. Passenger capacity is far greater than vehicle capacity on all WSF vessels.

Vehicle capacity reductions
Despite a spike over Christmas weekend, vehicle traffic during this period is far less compared to summer volumes. To minimize possible summertime service disruptions, several vessels are undergoing wintertime maintenance and as a result, the following vehicle capacity reductions will be in place through early 2018:

  • Edmonds/Kingston: 144-vehicle Hyak substituting for 202-vehicle Puyallup.
  • Mukilteo/Clinton: 124-vehicle Kitsap substituting for 144-vehicle Tokitae.

Customers will need to plan ahead as the reduction in vehicle space could contribute to longer wait times. To help holiday travelers get to and from Whidbey Island, an extra 8:55 p.m. Clinton departure and 9:25 p.m. sailing out of Mukilteo on Friday, Dec. 22, may be added if there is significant demand.

Historically, far fewer people catch a ferry over the New Year's holiday weekend.

Holiday schedules
There will be a few holiday schedule changes on some ferry routes Monday, Dec. 25, and Monday, Jan. 1. The Seattle/Bainbridge and Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth routes will operate on a weekend timetable on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Travel tips

Drivers can also plan ahead for increased congestion on highways as they make their way to the ferry terminals with real-time traffic information on the WSDOT traffic app for their mobile device.

Winter sailing schedule begins Jan. 7
There will be a new schedule on many routes starting Sunday, Jan. 7. For the first time in several years, times for Bainbridge Island and Bremerton will change. Due to construction on Colman Dock, several sailings to and from the Seattle ferry terminal will depart 5-15 minutes earlier or later than they currently do. There will also be fewer sailings on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route and service to Sidney, British Columbia will be suspended until spring.

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries 24 million people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world.

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