West Seattle Water Taxi sets monthly-ridership record: 50,000+ boardings in August as of midmorning

August 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

(Mid-August Seacrest panorama by Robert Spears)
Recordsetting month for the West Seattle Water Taxi, and it’s not over yet. Just shared by County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who is also chair of the Ferry District Board, which oversees West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi operations, an announcement sent by Marine Division shoreside operations/customer-service manager Greg Lerner:

I wanted to let you know that today, on the 10:30 am sailing, our 50,000th rider for the month of August boarded our West Seattle boat, setting a new all-time record for the route. From a person who spent 10 years working with the West Seattle route at Argosy thinking we were doing well, I’m particularly proud of all of you for taking this route to the next level!

You can see month-by-month ridership for the past year and a half by going here and clicking the “West Seattle ridership” line to open it – last year’s biggest month was July, with 47,588. This year’s July ridership isn’t posted yet but June was the biggest month of the year posted to date, with 32,484.

P.S. The West Seattle Water Taxi will be in service on Labor Day, but using the Sunday schedule.

15 Comments

  1. I want to thank our riders — and especially our crew for providing a safe, efficient, and reliable transit service. We have made huge gains since King County began a trial service across Elliott Bay. And we have so much more we are on the cusp of — new boats, consolidation into King County, and a new terminal at Coleman Dock just to name three. Thank you for all of your work — seen and unseen — to make it all happen and be a positive experience for our riders.

    I got to thank some of the crew personally as I boarded the 3:45 sailing home to West Seattle!

    Comment by Joe McDermott — 3:40 pm August 29, 2014 #

  2. So does it cost so damn much to ride it? They probably could get it to 100k if they lowered the price.

    Comment by Ed — 4:04 pm August 29, 2014 #

  3. @ed – I agree completely. I would take the boat to a baseball game but 8 people (2 families) both ways it too much. i’m surprised they don’t work with the ballpark to lower the price for events.

    Comment by WSEA — 4:17 pm August 29, 2014 #

  4. That’s great news! I wonder how close it is to a ‘break even’ proposition?

    Comment by BeachDriveBoy — 4:18 pm August 29, 2014 #

  5. I LOVE having the water taxi as a commuting option, and that it’s covered on the ORCA pugetpass. I’m happy to see ridership growing!

    Comment by KFSEA — 4:33 pm August 29, 2014 #

  6. agree about the way-too-high-fare; those of us without ORCA full pass, simply cannot ever afford to ride the water taxi; this leaves out families, and low income workers; social/economic equity please

    Comment by Diane — 5:05 pm August 29, 2014 #

  7. BeachDriveBoy – the bulk of the funding for the water taxis comes from a countywide property tax (about $1.40/yr for a $400K house). ‘The state passenger ferry account, federal grants, passenger fares, advertising and other promotional activities provide additional revenue. ‘
    .
    http://www.kingcountyferries.org/default.aspx?ID=17
    .
    Fares pay less than 1/3 of the operating cost:
    ‘The operating cost per rider continues to decrease, with farebox recovery projected to
    increase from 28.3% to 29.6%.’
    .
    http://www.kingcountyferries.org/pdfs/proposed%202014%20budget%20and%20workplan.pdf (p. 30)

    Comment by metrognome — 6:49 pm August 29, 2014 #

  8. I have really enjoyed the water taxi this summer on the couple of occasions that I have used it. The larger boats and the good adherence to the schedule makes it easy to ride and a lot of fun. Took some co-workers from downtown to Ma Kai for lunch and around Alki for a bit before heading back downtown.
    .
    As for cost, it really isn’t that bad when you consider how much it would cost you to park downtown for a couple hours.

    Comment by Jordan — 8:33 pm August 29, 2014 #

  9. Don’t lower fares. There are other public transit options to the water taxi.

    Comment by GOP in WS — 9:12 pm August 29, 2014 #

  10. Councilmember McDermott, it seems as though the Washington State Ferry system could use to learn some lessons from the King County system. Maybe King County should take over the King County runs and let the other counties and the state deal with what’s left.

    Thanks for your leadership on this! It makes too much sense to not keep this in place.

    Comment by SA — 10:01 pm August 29, 2014 #

  11. I have found the bike racks to be very crowded on the Water Taxi lately. I hope that Pronto Bike Share will find a sponsor to install a convenient bike station, say in front of the WSF terminal across Yesler from the Water Taxi. Bike Share + Water Taxi could be a winning combination for navigating the waterfront/stadiums once you arrive downtown. Also, Pike Place Market (either by riding up Western or putting the Pronto bike on an elevator). I heard they will have 7 speeds and will handle hills pretty well.

    Comment by Kathy — 1:02 pm August 30, 2014 #

  12. About the shuttles, I think it is a shame that some late Water Taxi runs are not met by the shuttles, and that the shuttles don’t always reach the dock in time to meet the Water Taxi. This can leave you stranded on the West Seattle side, in an area with very limited transportation options. I hope there is some way this disconnect can be fixed.

    Comment by Kathy — 1:15 pm August 30, 2014 #

  13. I love the water taxi and always recommend to out of towners. Spectacular view, good price, nice access to downtown and Alki.

    Comment by Hi — 4:24 pm August 30, 2014 #

  14. It seems to me that if you can afford to take 8 people to a baseball game you should be able to afford the price of a ride on the ferry. Consider the price of a stadium beer vs ferry ticket.

    Comment by Keith — 8:12 am August 31, 2014 #

  15. Let’s investigate more water taxis to downtown.
    From Edmonds, Des Moines, Fauntleroy, Magnolia, maybe they would all be popular

    Comment by Ryan — 9:19 am August 31, 2014 #

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