WATER TAXI: Record ridership year, with 2 1/2 months to go

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(Infographic provided by King County Department of Transportation)

The King County Department of Transportation says its West Seattle and Vashon Island Water Taxi runs already have passed last year’s total of 515,000 boardings, with two and a half months left in 2016. 339,479 riders were on the WS run, with 175,575 to/from Vashon, the county says, noting that this year’s spikes included the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure last spring and busier summer months than usual – 24,000 extra riders in June, July, and August.

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(Water Taxi boarding @ Seacrest on May 2nd, Viaduct closure’s lone Monday. WSB photo by Patrick Sand)

You might recall that the West Seattle run used to shut down entirely during the fall and winter months, but that changed six years ago, and it now runs five days a week during the cooler months; this year’s weekday-only schedule starts on Halloween, two weeks from today.

Also coming up this fall: The King County Council will decide whether to approve County Executive Dow Constantine‘s proposal for stable, permanent funding for the Water Taxi, shifting $9 million in levy money that had been going to buses, but not increasing what taxpayers pay.

Read the official ridership-milestone announcement here.

10 Replies to "WATER TAXI: Record ridership year, with 2 1/2 months to go"

  • WSEA October 17, 2016 (6:10 pm)

    As the population grows and more companies locate to seattle, I can only assume the ridership grows.   I hear parking is an issue now. I usually ride my bike so i’m not sure how bad it is. 

    What happened about the rumors of a 3rd route to Magnolia,  Queen Anne or Ballard?  I forget where they thought of putting the route  That would be cool to see. 

  • flynlo October 17, 2016 (7:18 pm)

    So —  Dow wants to “shift $9 million in levy money that had been going to buses ” to the water taxi.  That’s an additional $17.97 per rider!  How much is the current subsidy for each rider? How many riders would that support if it were left in the bus account?

    • Sean October 18, 2016 (7:19 am)

      Don’t you just hate when they have the nerve to try to support successful programs? It’s the worst. 

  • HappyOnAlki October 17, 2016 (7:20 pm)

    I wish there were a later winter trip from WS in the morning and an earlier one back in the afternoon — I’d love to use the Water Taxi in the winter too, but staying in town from 9am till 3:45 is longer than I’m interested in.

  • Al October 17, 2016 (7:38 pm)

    Good work Dow…

  • dsa October 17, 2016 (11:46 pm)

    We voted to increase taxes to cover the deficit for the buses and now Dow wants to “shift” $9 million to the water taxi.  Don’t ask me for taxes again….ever  

    • WSB October 17, 2016 (11:56 pm)

      The tax source originally was supposed to be for the Water Taxi and it was shifted to Metro in 2009, as reported here. Basically, it would be shifting back.

      • dsa October 18, 2016 (12:51 am)

        Thanks, but it sounds short for buses.

  • Andi October 18, 2016 (1:59 pm)

    Not surprising that ridership is up, with how much they tore up bus service in West Seattle and how crappy traffic is since Bertha construction. One of the few ways to downtown that isn’t marred by gridlock. I’d take it more often, but there’s no easy way for me to get there by bus from my house anymore.

  • wetone October 18, 2016 (7:31 pm)

    Curious to know how much tourism was up in Seattle and how much impact it had towards increased foot ferry ridership.  

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