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No fireworks on the ferry, WSDOT warns

t Officials

say the boats aren’t the best place to watch displays, either.

As of Friday, the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route will be on a weekend schedule and, hopefully, free of banned fireworks, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Ferries Division.

“Ferry customers are expected to obey laws regarding legal fireworks in Washington State,” said Sgt. Trent Cain of the Washington State Patrol. “Legal fireworks include sparklers, ground spinners and roman candles. Illegal or other explosive devices are not allowed on ferries and will be confiscated and disposed of by (the WSP).”

To enforce the laws, troopers will be on-hand at ferry docks to inspect vehicles with dogs that are trained to “sniff out explosives, which includes fireworks, both legal and illegal.”

Because of this, riders who are carrying fireworks are advised to allow enough time for screening, and to have the fireworks “easily accessible for WSP to examine.”

The WSDOT also advises riders that planning to watch fireworks displays from ferry boats is not encouraged, as “security measures require crews to clear the vessels at each port. Better viewing options are from the shore or near the ferry terminals.”

The Triangle Route will operate on a weekend schedule Friday, and there will be no passenger-only ferry (POF) service from Vashon Island to downtown Seattle. There will be two extra sailings on the Point Defiance-Tahlequah route, which include a 1:45 p.m. trip from Point Defiance, and a 2:15 p.m. from Tahlequah.

In other ferry news:

• As of Tuesday, the new established King County Ferry District took over the cost of providing the POF service between Seattle and Vashon, as a first step toward taking over full operation of this route. (The WSDOT will continue to operate the route until July 2009.)

“We are working closely with the King County Ferry District for a seamless transition,” said David Moseley, Chief of the Ferries Division. “We do not expect any fare or schedule changes this year.”

From July 2008 through June 2009, WSDOT will operate Seattle/Vashon Island passenger-only service at current levels and the service will be fully funded by the King County Ferry District.

The ferry district will assume operation of the route beginning July 1, 2009, using King County crews.

The service will continue to operate out of Pier 50.

In 2003, the state Legislature authorized counties to create local ferry districts, and the Metropolitan King County Council created the King County Ferry District in 2007 to expand waterborne transit options for county residents.

In addition to the Seattle/Vashon Island passenger-only ferry, the district now oversees operation of the Elliott Bay Water Taxi, which runs between West Seattle and Pier 55 in downtown Seattle.

• As of June 14, the Rhodo-dendron ferry returned to service on the Point Defiance-Tahlequah route, easing congestion on the Triangle Route, which operates off the northern part of Vashon.

For the latest updates on service, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries or call (888) 808-7977.

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