Ferry schedule formed

Southworth Ferry Advisory Committee Chairwoman Marjorie Rees was cautiously ecstatic this week over Washington State Ferries’ proposed new fall schedule for the Southworth-Vashon-Fauntleroy route.

“We were all elated,” Rees said of the FAC members, who have worked for months with WSF to revamp the schedule for the three-stop route known as the triangle. “I truly feel that this is the first really good schedule we’ve gotten for Southworth.”

Rees cautioned there will still be some minor tweaking, but she said doesn’t forsee any major changes to the schedule that retains the crucial 4:20 p.m. Southworth-direct sailing from Fauntleroy.

Heavily used by Kitsap County commuters, the sailing was absent from the “concept” schedule leaked to the public last month, prompting a tense FAC meeting at Harper Evangelical Church May 13 as more than 200 people showed up to grill ferry officials.

“That was the biggest public outcry I’ve ever seen,” Rees said, explaining that, though the 7:30 p.m. Southworth direct sailing from Fauntleroy is gone from the drafted schedule, she was most concerned about saving the 4:20 p.m. from Fauntleroy and the 6:10 a.m. Fauntleroy direct from Southworth.

“This schedule really concentrated on the commuters,” she said.

Southworth FAC member David Vandenbos said although he felt the situation “got a little out of hand,” he felt the public response, in combination with the FAC’s perseverance, helped forge a better schedule.

“I think that applied some positive pressure,” Vandenbos said. “It got them to thinking a lot more, and (the FAC) kept pressing them to continue to take another look at it.”

WSF said the schedule is being changed to maximize operational efficiencies and create a schedule that can be completed on time.

Ray Deardorf, WSF director of planning, said the triangle route is notoriously difficult to complete on time as ferry workers must off-load and on-load up to three times each sailing, load and stage cars for each stop separately and manage the single-slip bottleneck at Fauntleroy.

“It just wasn’t a makeable schedule,” Vandenbos said.

Vandenbos said although the new schedule changes many of the sailing times, he said it should improve on-time performance and decrease wait times for ferry riders. He said although some sailings have been cut, some difficult gaps have been filled as well.

“We basically end up in a plus situation, gaining more capacity than in any other schedule,” Vandenbos said. “It looks like it’s actually going to do some cool stuff. We’ve got limited resources, so it’s a good situation for the interim.”

WSF spokeswoman Pat Patterson said the proposed fall schedule will be posted on the WSF Web site early next week for the public to review and post comments. Patterson said there will still be minor changes, but overall “it appears to satisfy all groups.”

Once finalized on July 1, Patterson said the schedule will take effect on Sept. 21. To review the schedule, see

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