VIDEO: Celebrating West Seattle’s new King County Water Taxi vessel, M/V Doc Maynard

September 18, 2015 at 12:49 pm | In King County Water Taxi, Transportation, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

And with that, the M/V Doc Maynard was officially welcomed to the King County Water Taxi fleet – though it’s not expected to join the West Seattle-Downtown Seattle run until December – after filling in for its twin M/V Sally Fox on the Vashon run for a while, and after some work is done at Seacrest to accommodate its size and configuration. The celebration at Pier 50 downtown included speeches and even stories – King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, drawing on a past gig as an Underground Tour guide, told the tale of the boat’s namesake:

After the speeches and bottle-smashing, it was out onto the bay for a test run. Here’s a quick look around the top deck at the stern (there’s room for more than 30 to stand at the bow, too) – mouse over the Instagram image to bring up the “play” button:

We have lots of photos, video, and info to add once we’re back at HQ.

ADDED FRIDAY NIGHT: More from the event – first, the group shot of West Seattleites who took the short “maiden voyage” after the ceremony, out into the bay and back:

(Photo courtesy KCDOT)

The county points out that the space on the bow is one thing differentiating Doc Maynard from Sally Fox – since the DM will travel mostly in calmer Elliott Bay waters, rather than across the heart of the sound as SF does to get to Vashon Island. Here’s what it looks like on the inside upper passenger deck, which has a view directly into the wheelhouse:

On the outer lower deck, at the stern, some of the bicycle storage:

The event wasn’t just a celebration of the new boat – funded mostly with a grant from the federal government (which had a rep on hand too) – but also of the Water Taxi’s history. It was pointed out that it now goes back 17 years, into the late 1990s, at which time then-King County Councilmember Greg Nickels championed it as a “demonstration project.” Introduced as “the father of the Water Taxi,” he spoke today too:

Nickels noted that the fellow West Seattleites with whom he stood, County Executive Dow Constantine and Councilmember McDermott, also worked with him back in the Water Taxi’s early days. If you’ve been around a while, you’ll recall other boats that have handled the Water Taxi’s run; while the way-back boats weren’t present for the ceremony, the other three current boats were out on the water as the Doc Maynard pulled away:

Besides the Sally Fox, you saw in that clip the current West Seattle boat, the Spirit of Kingston, and the current backup, the Melissa Ann, which is leased. SofK will be the backup boat once Doc Maynard goes into service.

As West Seattle’s new Water Taxi tests the waters, King County says the fleet’s gone green

September 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(Photo by Carolyn Newman)

With three days to go until the ceremony dedicating West Seattle’s new Water Taxi, the M/V Doc Maynard, it’s already out and about testing the waters following its arrival in Elliott Bay at the end of last week. And the county says the entire Water Taxi fleet is or has already gone green:

What could be better than commuting across Puget Sound in a water taxi and bypassing all that traffic? Now there’s yet another reason to appreciate the ride – in addition to fighting congestion, these King County water taxis are doing their part to combat greenhouse gas emissions by switching to the use of biodiesel fuel.

“Using homegrown biodiesel, our water taxis have some of the cleanest-burning engines around,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The use of biodiesel on the newest member of our fleet, the Sally Fox, will reduce particulates in the air and prevent more than 140 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.”

In line with the biodiesel initiative, the County’s Marine Division has earned membership in the Passenger Vessel Association’s Green WATERS Program – a national volunteer effort that encourages environmental responsibility and action to reduce the environmental impacts of marine operations.

The Sally Fox, soon to be joined by a second new vessel, the Doc Maynard, has a host of green features that include:

· Operating on a locally-sourced 10 percent biodiesel blend, which reduces our dependence on fossil fuel.
· Engines that operate more cleanly and emit less particulate matter.
· The addition of high-efficiency heating systems, LED lights, and recycling stations to help reduce waste.
· Expanded capacity for bicycles. The new vessels can accommodate 26 bicycles on every trip.

When the County’s third vessel, The Spirit of Kingston, has its annual maintenance this fall, fuel tanks will be cleaned readying the vessel to burn biodiesel.

What you’ll see at sea: New Water Taxi arriving tomorrow

September 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(Photo from M/V Doc Maynard’s launch in Bellingham, courtesy King County DOT)
If you have eyes on Elliott Bay somewhere in the 4-5 pm vicinity tomorrow, you just might see West Seattle’s new Water Taxi, the M/V Doc Maynard, arriving in its new home waters. That’s the word from King County Transportation Department spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok. Once the Bellingham-built boat is here, she adds, “Once here, the vessel will start undergoing training and crew familiarization in Elliott Bay. Then of course, there will be the dedication ceremony next Friday [September 18th].” If you missed our preview of that last month – read it here.

P.S. The Doc Maynard might be a little hard to spot tomorrow unless you’re close enough to see its name, since it’s a twin to the M/V Sally Fox, which is already in service on the Vashon-to-Seattle run. The Doc Maynard, KCDOT told us last month, will be replacing it for a few weeks before going into service on the West Seattle route.

FOLLOWUP: Dedication date for new West Seattle water taxi M/V Doc Maynard

August 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(Photo from M/V Doc Maynard’s launch in Bellingham, courtesy King County DOT)

As first reported here last week, the new King County Water Taxi vessel that will serve West Seattle is due to arrive in about a month. And now the county has announced the plan for a dedication ceremony on September 18th – though it won’t be happening on this side of the bay:

We cordially invite you to the dedication ceremony and celebration for the new King County Water Taxi vessel, the M/V Doc Maynard.

Named in honor of an early Seattle leader, the Doc Maynard will provide safe, comfortable and environmentally sound transportation to the growing number of riders on the King County Water Taxi’s West Seattle-downtown Seattle route.

The dedication event will be held Friday, Sept. 18, 11:30 a.m. at the King County Water Taxi dock on Pier 50 in downtown Seattle.

After the ceremony you are invited to board the Doc Maynard for her maiden voyage.

Guests coming to the event from West Seattle are welcome to take a special trip from Seacrest Dock departing at 10:45 a.m. to the event at Pier 50 on the current Water Taxi vessel, the Spirit of Kingston. We will provide a return trip to West Seattle for invited following the maiden voyage, departing Pier 50 at 12:35 p.m. (both trips are free of charge). A community celebration event will be held at Seacrest Dock at a later date, after the Doc Maynard starts regular service on the West Seattle route.

If you want to ride over per the aforementioned offer, the Spirit of Kingston will leave Seacrest at 10:45 that morning; the ceremony at Pier 50 begins with remarks at 11:30 am; the return trip to Seacrest leaves Pier 50 at 12:35 pm.

New West Seattle water taxi Doc Maynard launches, starts sea trials

August 11, 2015 at 11:13 am | In King County Water Taxi, Transportation, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

If you ride the King County Water Taxi‘s West Seattle-to-downtown route, that’s the new vessel you’ll be on starting sometime this fall. M/V Doc Maynard is being built at All American Marine in Bellingham, as was the new Vashon Island Water Taxi M/V Sally Fox; the photos are from Doc Maynard’s launch into Bellingham Bay last week to start sea trials.

According to an online update from Water Taxi management, M/V Doc Maynard will arrive in Seattle in about a month. Here’s what the county says will happen after that:

After the Doc Maynard arrives in Seattle, the King County Marine Division will familiarize the crew with the vessel, conduct route-specific training, and go through U.S. Coast Guard safety drills. Following a dedication event, the Doc Maynard will be put into service on the Vashon route for up to four weeks while the Sally Fox returns to Bellingham to undergo warranty work. When the Sally Fox returns, the Doc Maynard will go into service on the West Seattle route, increasing the capacity and comfort of this service.

Federal grant money covered 80 percent of the nearly $12 million cost of the two new passenger ferries.

More water taxi news from the summer newsletter – ridership is up:

And the newsletter also notes that the county is continuing to look at possible expansion: “King County has asked the Marine Division and our consultant, KPFF Engineering, to look at future route opportunities on both Lake Washington and Puget Sound. A report of viable options is expected by year’s end.”

West Seattle 4th of July: King County Water Taxi schedule plan

June 29, 2015 at 2:07 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Another quick lookahead to the holiday weekend: The King County Department of Transportation has just announced the Water Taxi schedule: For the West Seattle route, Friday, July 3rd, and Saturday, July 4th, will both be on the Saturday schedule; for the Vashon route, no service on Friday (Saturday’s already an off-day).

‘Providing less usable bike storage … makes no sense’: Bicycle shops’ letter re: new Water Taxis

April 22, 2015 at 1:17 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 42 Comments

(WSB photo from M/V Sally Fox’s March dedication on Vashon)
Imagine driving onto a state ferry with open sides, every vehicle exposed to the elements. Now imagine the ferry traveling fast enough to chop across the water, with spray on all sides, especially on a stormy day. Regular users would likely wind up with rust. This is the situation faced by people bringing bicycles onto King County Water Taxis – because of the new vessels’ design, which has bicycle parking out on the open deck, instead of inside, as is the case with the current West Seattle Water Taxi, Spirit of Kingston, for example.

The latest attempt to get some relief for the problem – especially with the new Vashon boat M/V Sally Fox now in service and its twin the M/V Doc Maynard coming to West Seattle later this year – is in this letter signed by local bicycle shop owners:

The problem was surfaced by Vashon bicyclists before the Sally Fox went into service; we’re checking today with the King County Department of Transportation to see if one of the fixes suggested in the letter above is in the works, or if they’re responding in another way. We’ll add the response when we get it later today.

ADDED 3:15 PM: Here’s the KCDOT response to our inquiry about this, via spokesperson Jeff Switzer:

We’ve been talking with our water taxi customers who ride bikes. Some have concerns about the outdoor storage area that salt spray could be a problem for their bikes while others do not. We have been monitoring the area for such concerns and thus far this has not been a problem. We communicated to the cyclists that gathered for a community meeting on Vashon in March, that actual vessel operations would be monitored over time, giving us a chance to observe any adverse weather conditions during the fall and winter to see what, if any impact there are to bikes. This will give us time to determine whether there is a problem. So far, we are encouraged that our current plan to provide safe and secure bike storage is working. In the Vashon community meeting we offered storage space on the vessel for individual bike covers, and proposed a bike wash down station to be designed into the new pier 50 terminal.

West Seattle Water Taxi reminder: 7-day schedule starts Monday

April 3, 2015 at 6:43 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | Comments Off

The King County Department of Transportation is circulating the reminder tonight: Monday is the first day of the West Seattle Water Taxi‘s extended spring/summer schedule – not only 7 days a week, but also middays on weekdays, not just the am/pm commute runs covered in the winter schedule. Just in time, since Monday is opening day for the Mariners, with a 1:10 pm game. You can see the new schedule here.

VIDEO: M/V Sally Fox, the first of two new King County Water Taxis, christened

March 28, 2015 at 5:58 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

The first of two new King County Water Taxis was christened on Vashon Island today. Above, breaking mesh-covered champagne bottles onto the M/V Sally Fox, that’s County Executive Dow Constantine, Ms. Fox’s daughter Kelly Fox Violet, and County Councilmember Joe McDermott. Big turnout at the passenger-ferry dock on north Vashon:

Here’s a better look at the boat, whose twin, M/V Doc Maynard, is coming to West Seattle this fall.

Executive Constantine talked about the growth in Water Taxi ridership – 445,000 trips last year, taking cars off the roads:

He also mentioned seeing people at the ceremony whose involvement with the county’s foot-ferry efforts goes way back. We noticed one of them – his predecessor, former County Executive Ron Sims:

During Sims’s tenure, the county took over Vashon foot-ferry service, which was formerly run by the state. Meantime, 80 percent of the $11 million cost of the two new boats – both built at All American Marine in Bellingham – was covered by federal grant money. Another financial point, brought up by County Councilmember Joe McDermott – savings realized by merging the King County Ferry District into the county Department of Transportation:

He talked about the Vashon boat’s namesake, Sally Fox, who died in 2007; her widower, retired Judge Michael Fox, also spoke at the event. Here’s the plaque that will honor her onboard:

One more look at the boat!

With room for 250 passengers and 26 bicycles, the Sally Fox officially goes into service next month. Go here to read the official county news release about the boat and today’s event.

P.S. It’s not affected by this, but in case you wondered – the West Seattle Water Taxi’s seven-days-a-week spring/summer schedule starts on April 6th, one week from Monday.

New Vashon Water Taxi arrives in Seattle, 2 weeks before dedication

March 15, 2015 at 2:16 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

According to, the first of two new King County Water Taxis, M/V Sally Fox, is now docked in Seattle. Before the vessel left All American Marine to head south, the Bellingham Herald put together this video with a look inside:

The Sally Fox will serve the Seattle-Vashon run, but the Bellingham Herald’s sneak peek is a de-facto preview of what the new West Seattle Water Taxi, M/V Doc Maynard, also will look like, since it’s a twin being built by AAM, expected to arrive in October. First: For an in-person look at M/V Sally Fox, make plans to be at the north Vashon Island dock on March 28th – we’ve mentioned that date before, but now King County has published a schedule of events for the 1-4 pm dedication celebration that day.

No West Seattle Water Taxi for Sounders opener, but weekend service resumes soon

March 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Another question that’s come in today: Is the West Seattle Water Taxi running for the Sounders opener? Answer: No; no weekend runs at all until 7-day-a-week, all-day service resumes in four weeks. By then, the first of the two new Water Taxis will join the fleet – M/V Sally Fox, on the Vashon Island run – lots of details in the new Water Taxi newsletter, including a more-specific timeline for the West Seattle vessel M/V Doc Maynard‘s expected arrival – mid-October.

If you can’t read it as embedded above (note the “zoom,” “fullscreen,” and other controls in the window), here it is as a PDF.

Followup: Future West Seattle Water Taxi, M/V Doc Maynard, taking shape

February 25, 2015 at 12:14 pm | In King County Water Taxi, Seen at sea, Transportation, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

(Click picture to see larger image)
With the county launching Water Taxi Watch and planning the debut of the new Vashon Island Water Taxi M/V Sally Fox for late March, we asked how construction is proceeding with West Seattle’s new vessel, the M/V Doc Maynard. In response, the county Department of Transportation shared the photo taken at All American Marine in Bellingham, where, KCDOT spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok says, “Last week the engines were inserted into the hull and the cabin was also attached to the hull. We are still on target for delivery of the vessel this fall.”

When the new vessels are both in service, the county plans to keep Spirit of Kingston, the current West Seattle Water Taxi, as a backup. It has already stopped leasing the SoK’s predecessor Rachel Marie – which went into service on the West Seattle run in 2010 – and will do so with the current Vashon vessel Melissa Ann. The two new boats’ cost will total $11.8 million, 80 percent of which is being covered by federal funding.

P.S. The Water Taxi’s 7-day-a-week schedule resumes April 6th.

Getting to the downtown Water Taxi & state ferry docks will change, starting Monday

January 6, 2015 at 6:05 pm | In King County Water Taxi, Transportation, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

(Photo of today’s foggy sunset, by Chi Krneta)
Take the Water Taxi from Pier 50? Or state ferries from Colman Dock? Downtown-waterfront access is changing downtown from next Monday through mid-May, as announced today:

(Photo from Seacrest at sunset, by WSB’s Patrick Sand)

All vehicles will enter the Washington State Ferries terminal at Colman Dock via Yesler Way as part of temporary changes being implemented by the State Route 99 Tunnel Project and the Elliott Bay Seawall Project. Terminal access will also shift for pedestrians, bicyclists and King County Water Taxi passengers and remain in place through May 2015. Through traffic north and south on Alaskan Way remains unchanged. Drivers/riders exiting Colman Dock via Yesler Way may see some intersection modifications this week as construction crews prepare for the Monday shift.

Access changes

View a detailed map of the following temporary changes near Colman Dock:
· Drivers will turn left or right into the WSF terminal from Alaskan Way at Yesler Way.
o For southbound traffic, one lane of Alaskan Way in front of the ferry terminal will be dedicated to ferry access.
o A left-turn lane will accommodate northbound traffic at Yesler Way.
o Vehicles will exit the ferry dock onto Yesler Way or Marion Street.

· Pedestrian access through the Seawall Project construction zone will be maintained to the WSF terminal in two ways: the current pedestrian bridge at Marion Street, and at street level immediately west of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Street level access will be maintained at all times, although it will shift at various points during construction.

· Bicyclists will enter and exit the ferry terminal on the north side of Yesler Way via the shared-use path.

· King County Water Taxi riders will enter and exit via Yesler Way.

· Passenger pickup and drop-off (including access for people with disabilities) will be shifted to the west side of the roadway between Marion and Columbia streets.

· Taxi waiting areas are also available at the current location on the east side of Alaskan Way between Marion and Columbia streets. A new taxi waiting area will – be added on Marion Street between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue.

Transit alert: Water Taxi substitutions for next 2 weeks

December 13, 2014 at 10:19 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | Comments Off

According to an alert sent tonight to King County Water Taxi riders, the regular West Seattle Water Taxi vessel, Spirit of Kingston, is going in for annual maintenance, so for the next two weeks or so, starting Monday, Melissa Ann will be on the West Seattle run, and Victoria Clipper III will fill in for Vashon. Side note: We talked recently with Greg Lerner of the King County Department of Transportation Marine Division, and he says construction of the two new Water Taxis is on schedule; Sally Fox, the Vashon vessel, is set for delivery first, to be followed by the West Seattle vessel, Doc Maynard.

First-ever ‘strategic plan’ in place, to steer King County Water Taxi service’s future

November 9, 2014 at 10:13 pm | In King County Water Taxi, Transportation, West Seattle news | 19 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

While Metro bus funding and Sound Transit light rail have held the spotlight here lately, plans are being shaped for another transportation service’s future: The King County Water Taxis.

They’re in the just-approved, first-ever “strategic plan” for the King County Ferry District, which operates Water Taxi service on the downtown/Vashon and downtown/West Seattle runs – read the final version here or below:

One of the first steps to be taken is to end the Ferry District’s existence as a separate entity. The County Council is scheduled to vote on “assuming governance” of the district during its 11 am meeting tomorrow, one week after, sitting as the Ferry District Board chaired by West Seattle’s Councilmember Joe McDermott, it approved the strategic plan.

Another big decision ahead: Funding, with the plan describing the service as “”currently financially unsustainable given annual revenue, service costs, and current and near-term capital improvement needs.”

Consolidating the district into county government will help, according to the plan, because it “will eliminate redundant functions of the District and County. Separate District contracts for Legal and Accounting services can be terminated and Ferry District staff will not be needed. The annual savings from consolidation can go directly to providing services.”

But that won’t cover the gap, the report suggests. From the plan, here’s a chart showing what’s happened:

Click to read the rest of First-ever ‘strategic plan’ in place, to steer King County Water Taxi service’s future…

And the winning Water Taxi names are …

September 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

(Rendering of new vessels – reflecting size/shape/configuration, not final color/paint/trim)
Instead of the Spirit of Kingston, when the new West Seattle Water Taxi arrives next year, you’ll be riding the Doc Maynard. Just announced by King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who chairs the county Ferry District Board:

After this summer’s public process, the King County Ferry District’s new boats have been named. Doc Maynard will serve the West Seattle run, and Sally Fox will bring riders from Vashon Island to Downtown Seattle.

“I want to thank everyone who got involved whether it was nominating names or voting for their favorites. The names reflect our community’s awesome history,” said Ferry District Chair Joe McDermott.

Doc Maynard was a Seattle pioneer and doctor.

(Added: Public-domain image of Doc Maynard, via Wikimedia)
As one of the primary founders of Seattle, Maynard’s friendship with Chief Sealth inspired him to propose the name of the city be named after his Duwamish friend.

Sally Fox fought tirelessly as a passionate advocate for passenger-only ferry service to Vashon. She organized the community and fought at the forefront of the movement to protect and expand this valuable service. Fox passed away in 2007 from esophageal cancer, but her spirit lives on through the results of her activism.

While Cobain Watertrain was a popular vote for the West Seattle run, it was determined there was too much licensing risk involved.

Mostly funded by federal grants, the new boats will start operating in 2015.

We’re asking about the actual numbers and will add whatever we find out.

P.S. Here’s Doc Maynard’s biography, via

: Thanks to Councilmember McDermott’s office for the top three voting results for each vessel – first, West Seattle, then, Vashon:

Cobain Watertrain-32.75%
Doc Maynard- 22.75%
Princess Angeline- 18.74%

Sally Fox- 38.46%
Betty MacDonald – 29.29%
Lisabeula- 21.52%

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.

Name the new Water Taxis, round two: Vote on your favorites from 11 finalists – 6 for West Seattle, 5 for Vashon

July 25, 2014 at 11:03 am | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

(Rendering of new vessels – reflecting size/shape/configuration, not final color/paint/trim)
Four weeks after the King County Ferry District invited you to suggest names for the new Water Taxi vessels that are under construction, here comes Round 2 – your chance to choose between 11 finalists. Just out of the WSB inbox:

The process to name the King County Ferry District’s new vessels continues with public voting starting (today) and running through August 15, 2014. To vote, see or call 206-477-3840.

“The public’s participation in this process has been incredible – we have received 326 different name nominations. People in this region really value this service,” said King County Ferry District Chair Joe McDermott.

Click to read the rest of Name the new Water Taxis, round two: Vote on your favorites from 11 finalists – 6 for West Seattle, 5 for Vashon…

You’re invited to help name the new West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi vessels

June 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 40 Comments

(Rendering of new vessels – reflecting size/shape/configuration, not final color/paint/trim)
Just in from the King County Ferry District:

The King County Ferry District wants King County residents to help name the two new water taxis that will serve West Seattle and Vashon Island.

“This is a great opportunity to display your creativity and highlight your favorite part of our region,” said Joe McDermott, who chairs the King County Ferry District. “Anyone can submit name suggestions, so spread the word to your kids, friends, families and neighbors!”

The naming contest starts today. Individuals can submit their ideas at or by calling 206-477-3840. Suggestions will be taken until Friday, July 18, 2014. The King County Ferry District will then narrow the names down before putting the final public vote forward to the public at the end of July.

To be considered for the final vote, names must contain regional relevancy, must not exceed two words nor have any inappropriate language. A boat’s name is said to reflect its personality, so the name should be in good taste. While this will not disqualify a name suggestion, it should be noted that maritime folklore says it is unlucky for the boat to be named after a living person who intends to ride the boat in their lifetime.

The new vessels are primarily funded through federal grants and are being designed and built by All American Marine in Bellingham. The new vessels will start serving riders next year …

Ceremony marks construction start for new King County Water Taxi boats

April 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 31 Comments

At All American Marine in Bellingham today, a keel-laying ceremony marked the start of construction for the two new King County Water Taxi vessels.

(Artist rendering of new vessels’ basic design)
The boats are scheduled to be delivered next year, as reported here last December, with federal money covering 80 percent of their $11.8 million cost.

Water Taxi rider alert: Detour for walking to downtown dock

March 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | Comments Off

If you catch the West Seattle Water Taxi back home by walking to the downtown dock via Yesler Way – as we’ve done a few times while working at the courthouse this month – you’ll need to detour north to Columbia, starting today: The county just announced that the city’s seawall work is closing the Yesler/Alaskan Way crossing TFN.

Update: West Seattle Water Taxi back in service Tuesday morning

March 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | Comments Off

4:30 PM: Just in from King County via text – the West Seattle Water Taxi will NOT run for the rest of the afternoon/evening because the Spirit of Kingston has a mechanical problem.

9:41 PM UPDATE: It’ll be back to normal Tuesday morning, the county says.

Speaking of transit money: Water Taxi fares increase in March

February 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

(WSB photo from early February)
Water Taxi fares are going up this Saturday (March 1st), the King County Ferry District has just announced. Here’s what the new fares will be:

For the West Seattle route, that’s 75 cents more if you pay cash, 50 cents more pre-paid, 25 cents more for seniors/disabled people and youth 6-18 (prepaid). Kids 5 and under remain free. The Ferry District’s announcement also says West Seattle Water Taxi ridership for last year was up almost 3 percent over the year before.

ADDED: It should be noted that since the Water Taxi doesn’t run on weekends during the winter, the fares technically go up Monday (March 3rd).

Super Bowl beats Viadoom! West Seattle Water Taxi sets record

February 6, 2014 at 4:30 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

Another set of Seahawks Super Bowl victory-related numbers is in – the numbers from the special West Seattle Water Taxi schedule on Wednesday to help people get to and from the historic parade/celebration downtown (more photos in our Wednesday morning coverage).

Today, we asked King County Ferry District administrator AJ McClure for the totals, and he provided this one-sheet. Its introduction:

On Wednesday, February 5, the King County Water Taxi transported a record number of passengers for both its Vashon and West Seattle routes to view the Seahawks Championship Parade. The Vashon route, running its regularly scheduled service, carried 928 passengers. The West Seattle route, aided by an announcement by King County Ferry District Chair Joe McDermott to the West Seattle Blog the previous afternoon that we would provide midday additional service for the event, carried 4,587 passengers for the day. Chair McDermott also proclaimed that the Spirit of Kingston would be known as the M/V Steven Hauschka for the day in honor of the Seahawks placekicker.

Breaking it down – 2,289 passengers total on the West Seattle Water Taxi’s a.m. sailings, 2,298 on the p.m. sailings, adding up to that 4,587 total (with an added boat in the morning, once M/V Melissa Ann finished its a.m. Vashon route sailings).

Last time we remember lines like these was for the famous “Viadoom” Highway 99 closures – but the county also says this BEAT that, big time:

Forgot about Viadoom already? That was the multi-day October 2011 closure for the start of Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition. And remember, whenever the Highway 99 tunnel-digging gets going again, we’re facing a multi-day closure when the machine gets directly beneath what’s left of the elevated Viaduct, so stay tuned.

Update: West Seattle Water Taxi WILL have extra runs for Seahawks parade – on ‘M/V Steven Hauschka’

February 4, 2014 at 11:04 am | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

(UPDATED 1:30 PM: Special sailing, shuttle schedules for Wednesday, added)

(WSB file photo)
11:04 AM: Just got word from King County Councilmember Joe McDermott – the West Seattle Water Taxi WILL have midday runs tomorrow for Seahawks Victory Parade goers. Full schedule will be out shortly (the first and last run times of the day won’t change – what WILL change is that it will run all day, including the period when it’s idle in the winter, 9 am-3:30 pm). And shuttle bus schedules WILL match the runs.

Bonus – remember the WSB commenters who suggested that the Water Taxi be honorarily renamed after kicker Steven Hauschka since he wasn’t included in the Washington State Ferries‘ honorary renames? Councilmember McDermott says that will happen for tomorrow, especially appropriate since Hauschka scored (early) offensive points on Sunday. (Poster image from King County added 5:54 pm)

12:19 PM UPDATE: Here’s the special Wednesday-ONLY sailing schedule as a PDF – this image is from that document:

Shuttle-bus schedule still being finalized, we’re told; we’ll add it when it’s available. (And if you’re thinking about driving to the dock, see our note from last night about free parking at Salty’s on Alki [WSB sponsor].)

1:30 PM UPDATE: Here’s a PDF of the special Wednesday shuttle-bus schedule (with the sailing schedule alongside):

See you at the dock!

New King County Water Taxi boats to be built by All American Marine, but delivered later than originally hoped

December 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm | In King County Water Taxi, Transportation, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

(Artist rendering of new vessels’ design)
The King County Ferry District has just announced the shipbuilder chosen for the two new Water Taxi vessels: All American Marine, based in Bellingham. We’ve been reporting on the plans to have two new vessels built; the expected $11.8 million cost of designing and building them, the county says, will be 80 percent footed by the Federal Transit Administration. Each boat will be able to carry up to 250 passengers, more than Rachel Marie and Melissa Ann, leased three years ago, and more than the district-owned Spirit of Kingston, taken over last year, which will stay with the fleet. The new boats also will have wider doors for faster boarding and more bicycle capacity – 26 per boat, up from 18 now. Construction is expected to start in early 2014, with the first vessel delivered by mid-2015, the second one by the end of 2015 – that’s another delay beyond what the county told us about back in August, when the scheduled had slipped to late 2014 for the first boat. The budget also had to be increased earlier this year when no “responsive” bid came in to meet the original $11.1 million budget.

P.S. Speaking of the Water Taxi – neither route runs on Christmas Day.


Reminder: West Seattle Water Taxi starts winter schedule Monday

October 25, 2013 at 5:28 pm | In King County Water Taxi, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

One more reminder tonight from King County – the West Seattle Water Taxi starts its winter schedule on Monday, which means the next two days will bring its final weekend runs until spring. The winter schedule runs Mondays-Fridays, morning and afternoon/evening commute time periods only, with the first run from West Seattle to downtown at 6 am, and the last run back from downtown to West Seattle at 7 pm. See the full schedule here.

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