WSF adjusts ferry schedules to handle Thanksgiving traffic

"Washington State Ferries (WSF) officials are cautioning Thanksgiving weekend travelers to plan their ferry trips across Puget Sound well ahead of time, even though few traffic problems have ever cropped up during that holiday.Try not to wait until the last minute to get across the Sound this Thanksgiving weekend, warned Susan Harris-Huether, the customer information manager for WSF. In other words, if a gathering is scheduled for 7 p.m. don't try to cross the water at 6 p.m. That's just not going to work. Try to go ahead of time and get wherever you need to be early.Too often, too many folks put off the inevitable, and they don't establish workable travel plans. More often than not, those same travelers end up frustrated and waiting in long lines at the ferry docks, said Harris-Huether, admitting that she too, is one of those procrastinators.Though planning ahead for any trip is prudent, Harris-Huether noted that the Kingston-Edmonds route is especially troublesome during the Thanksgiving holiday.I'm not exactly sure why, but traveling to and from Kingston on Thanksgiving Day has always been rough, she said. So travelers considering that route she keep that in mind, too.And, don't forget that, once loaded up on turkey and stuffing, many folks spend that Friday, considered the biggest shopping day of the year, at department stores, searching for that perfect holiday gift. That means folks will most likely be lining up along the ferry terminals for a chance to jump on an auto or foot ferry to downtown Seattle, and the city's sprawling shopping centers.She also said Kitsap County residents who typically rely on ferries operating from Seattle's Colman dock to get home from work on weekdays, should keep in mind that lines there could be heavy the Wednesday afternoon prior to Thanksgiving.People will say they have to go run an errand around 2 p.m. and then never come back, Harris-Huether joked. That's usually how it works the day before Thanksgiving.To help make traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday as painless as possible this year, WSF officials plan to adjust ferry schedules during Thanksgiving weekend.For instance, ferries operating the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route will provide midday sailings on Thanksgiving Day while the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route will also operate midday sailings on Nov. 22 and Nov. 24.Still further to the north, the Mukilteo-Clinton, Edmonds-Kingston, Seattle-Bremerton and Point Defiance-Tahlequah car ferry routes will follow the holiday schedule already outlined in the WSF Fall Schedule pamphlet. The two passenger-only routes available to the north will operate on a regular, Thursday schedule, not a holiday schedule, she said.Those pamphlets can be picked up at any WSF terminal or any tourist center, Harris-Huether said. Otherwise, customers can always feel free to call our 24-hour customer information line at 1-888-808-7977.WSF also plans to put the Anacortes-San Juan Islands route on a Sunday schedule on Wednesday, Nov. 22 so folks trying to travel the day before Thanksgiving can do so later in the evening. "

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