West Seattle Blog... » King County Water Taxi http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:38:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Name the new Water Taxis, round two: Vote on your favorites from 11 finalists – 6 for West Seattle, 5 for Vashon http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/name-the-new-water-taxis-round-two-vote-on-your-favorites-from-11-finalists/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/name-the-new-water-taxis-round-two-vote-on-your-favorites-from-11-finalists/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:03:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280481

(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 surveymonkey.com/s/TTPBNZQ 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.

The King County Ferry District’s Executive Committee has narrowed the names down to 11.

Now, the public has one final opportunity to name the vessels. This is the last step of the process. This final public vote will determine the names of the two new water taxis that will serve both the West Seattle and Vashon Island routes. The top names for each route will serve as the names of the two new vessels currently being built by All American Marine in Bellingham, WA.

The Vashon options include Sally Fox, Betty MacDonald, Lisabeula, Barbara Durham, and Lucy Gerand.

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.

Betty MacDonald was a prominent author, who notably wrote books such as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and The Egg and I. Her humorous, autobiographical tales are still cherished today. The farm where McDonald wrote still exists on Vashon Island. Even after her tragic death by cancer at age 49, MacDonald still has a large, adoring fanbase to carry out her legacy.

Lisabeula is a park on the island that has a unique story behind the origin of its name. When trying to determine the name for a new post office on Vashon, the officer at the Post Office Department looked to two employees in the office, named Eliza and Beulah. He decided to combine the two names, resulting in Lisabeula, the name of the new post office and later, a waterfront beach park.

Barbara Durham was the first female chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court. She was highly respected by her colleagues. She served as a judge in Washington state courts at the district, superior, appellate, and supreme levels. She grew up on Vashon and graduated from Vashon High School in 1960.

Lucy Gerand was a Native American, longtime Islander who was one of the first to provide stories about her life on the island. She dug clams with her husband in Quartermaster Harbor and took the ferry to Tacoma where she sold them at the farmer’s market. She died of tuberculosis in 1929.

For the West Seattle vessel, the public can choose from Doc Maynard, Princess Angeline, Cobain Watertrain, Lushootseed, Lynn Campbell, or Dixy Lee Ray.

Doc Maynard was a Seattle pioneer and doctor. 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.

Princess Angeline was the eldest daughter of Chief Sealth and was a well-known and highly-respected figure in Seattle. She was the last living descendent of Chief Sealth, and did laundry and sold baskets, while living in a waterfront cabin near what is today known as Pike Place Market.

Cobain Watertrain is a name that might not require as much of an explanation. This name is a tribute to the legendary Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the grunge band Nirvana.

Lushootseed refers to the language spoken by many Salish tribes, including the Duwamish.

Lynn Campbell started the Spring Street Water Taxi in 1949, which ran crew and supplies to ships in Elliott Bay. He then started tours a couple years later and added Seattle Harbor Tours, which was eventually renamed to Argosy Cruises. Campbell offered deckhand and bartending positions for women and welcomed gay charter cruises at a time when venues were harder to come by for the community. This includes the Queen City Cruise (Tacky Tourist Cruise) which has its 24th annual sailing in August.

Dixy Lee Ray was not only the first woman to be elected governor of Washington, but she was also a marine biologist, associate professor at the University of Washington, and director of Seattle’s Pacific Science Center.

The voting opportunity will begin (today), and will close on August 15. To vote, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TTPBNZQ, or call 206-477-3840.

We don’t know how many of the 326 potential names mentioned by Councilmember McDermott came from WSB’ers but we do note that five of them were mentioned in comments on our original story announcing your chance to suggest a name.

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You’re invited to help name the new West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi vessels http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/youre-invited-to-help-name-the-new-west-seattle-and-vashon-water-taxi-vessels/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/youre-invited-to-help-name-the-new-west-seattle-and-vashon-water-taxi-vessels/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 19:04:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277671

(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 www.surveymonkey.com/s/2JNBGG2 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 …

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Ceremony marks construction start for new King County Water Taxi boats http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/ceremony-marks-construction-start-for-new-king-county-water-taxi-boats/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/ceremony-marks-construction-start-for-new-king-county-water-taxi-boats/#comments Sat, 26 Apr 2014 06:25:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=271518

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.

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Water Taxi rider alert: Detour for walking to downtown dock http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/water-taxi-rider-alert-detour-for-walking-to-downtown-dock/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/water-taxi-rider-alert-detour-for-walking-to-downtown-dock/#comments Fri, 14 Mar 2014 20:51:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=267697 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.

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Update: West Seattle Water Taxi back in service Tuesday morning http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/west-seattle-water-taxi-out-of-service-for-rest-of-pm/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/west-seattle-water-taxi-out-of-service-for-rest-of-pm/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 23:30:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=267242 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.

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Speaking of transit money: Water Taxi fares increase in March http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/speaking-of-transit-money-water-taxi-fares-go-up-saturday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/speaking-of-transit-money-water-taxi-fares-go-up-saturday/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 20:57:16 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=265972

(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).

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Super Bowl beats Viadoom! West Seattle Water Taxi sets record http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/super-bowl-beats-viadoom-west-seattle-water-taxi-sets-record/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/super-bowl-beats-viadoom-west-seattle-water-taxi-sets-record/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 00:30:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=264215

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.

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Update: West Seattle Water Taxi WILL have extra runs for Seahawks parade – on ‘M/V Steven Hauschka’ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/west-seattle-water-taxi-will-have-extra-runs-for-seahawks-parade-on-the-mv-steven-hauschka/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/west-seattle-water-taxi-will-have-extra-runs-for-seahawks-parade-on-the-mv-steven-hauschka/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 19:04:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=263909 (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!

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New King County Water Taxi boats to be built by All American Marine, but delivered later than originally hoped http://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/new-king-county-water-taxi-boats-to-be-built-by-all-american-marine-but-delivered-later-than-originally-hoped/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/new-king-county-water-taxi-boats-to-be-built-by-all-american-marine-but-delivered-later-than-originally-hoped/#comments Tue, 24 Dec 2013 00:15:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=260055

(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.


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Reminder: West Seattle Water Taxi starts winter schedule Monday http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/reminder-west-seattle-water-taxi-starts-winter-schedule-monday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/reminder-west-seattle-water-taxi-starts-winter-schedule-monday/#comments Sat, 26 Oct 2013 00:28:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=253923 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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Water Taxi shuttle routes, West Seattle Transportation Coalition, more @ Alki Community Council: http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/water-taxi-shuttle-routes-west-seattle-transportation-coalition-more-alki-community-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/water-taxi-shuttle-routes-west-seattle-transportation-coalition-more-alki-community-council/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 01:44:20 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=253060 At its October meeting, the Alki Community Council became the second neighborhood council in two nights to go on the record as officially supporting the West Seattle Transportation Coalition. And one mode of transportation was high on the list of the night’s other hot topics:

WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI: Michelle Allison from King County Councilmember Joe McDermott‘s office visited by request of ACC leadership. She says the 2014 work plan for the Ferry District Board (which McDermott chairs) includes an analysis of the shuttle routes serving the Water Taxi to see if they can be improved and/or restructured in hopes of boosting WT ridership. “That’s something we’re really going to engage the community on … we need to know if we’re losing people because it’s not operating the way it should. What can we do to change it to have you guys use the Water Taxi?” They’ve done some analysis so far and note that people are using it on weekdays to get home FROM Seacrest, but not necessarily for getting TO Seacrest. 63rd/Alki and Admiral/California are hot spots for where people are getting off the shuttle, she notes.

They might ask for opinions on possible alternate routes that could better serve people trying to use the Water Taxi – look for questions like that, “what neighborhood do you live in and would you use the Water Taxi if the shuttle came there?” She also pointed out that the Water Taxi system is not part of Metro. And they also will look at the current “no charge” operation of the shuttle. “The board is really going to wrestle with that,” Allison said (the board is the County Council under another name).

Later, the group discussed formally letting their representatives know that they want Metro and the Water Taxi shuttle to work together.

Speaking of transportation:

WEST SEATTLE TRANSPORTATION COALITION: As was the case at the Morgan Community Association the previous night, the group sent a rep to ACC tonight. Interim WSTC board member Tod Rodman explained that potential Metro cuts and the future Viaduct-to-Tunnel transition are the two biggest issues WSTC is dealing with right now. They want to get everybody on the peninsula signed on, he stressed. “Come to our meetings if you can … show a unified face to the various people who run the transportation systems, and look at the West Seattle peninsula as an entity. … We’re not partisan; we just want to get some answers from the city and county.” WSTC is asking groups for support, ACC vice president Randie Stone said it sounded good to her because “West Seattle is unique and we need some special attention.”

11-UNIT ROWHOUSE PROJECT APPROVAL: One of the neighbors was at the meeting and a discussion ensued about its proposal (reported here earlier that night). Parking remains a concern; the neighbor talked about the process in which they engaged, and noting that the city only looked at “does it meet the code?” so, she said, “The problem might be in the code.” Could a group like Alki Community Council get behind pushing to change it, so that a site like this might be maxed out with fewer townhomes rather than a project like this?

LUNA GIRLS ON ALKI: Artist Lezlie Jane came to talk about the new site planned for her sculpture, with a public meeting coming up next Monday, as noted here. She brought photos of the new proposed site, and some ACC members agreed it’s even a better spot than the originally proposed spot at Alki Bathhouse. Jane says they will be set in a cobblestone base, and that the site strikes her as “elegant.” ACC voted to send a letter to the city declaring enthusiastic support for the proposed site.

The Alki Community Council meets on third Thursdays, 7 pm, at Alki UCC.

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Sunday traffic/transit: West Seattle Car Show road closure, bus changes; Water Taxi extension for Seahawks game http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/sunday-traffictransit-west-seattle-car-show-road-closure-bus-changes-water-taxi-extension-for-seahawks-game/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/sunday-traffictransit-west-seattle-car-show-road-closure-bus-changes-water-taxi-extension-for-seahawks-game/#comments Sun, 15 Sep 2013 12:31:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=249896 Two alerts to share today:

WEST SEATTLE CAR SHOW: Above, that’s a “live” (refresh this page for the newest image) view of the heart of The Junction, where California SW is scheduled to be closed between Genesee and Edmunds 6 am-~6 pm today for the West Seattle Car Show (show hours are 8 am-4 pm). This also means some Metro Transit reroutes – click each route listed below to see the Metro PDF with route-specific information:

*RapidRide C Line
*Water Taxi Shuttle
*Route 22
*Route 50
*Route 128

WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI: Yes, it WILL run an extended schedule for tonight’s Seahawks-49ers game. See that schedule here.

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Budget increase, schedule delay for new Water Taxi vessels http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/budget-increase-schedule-delay-for-new-water-taxi-vessels/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/budget-increase-schedule-delay-for-new-water-taxi-vessels/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 23:42:57 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=161776

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With periodic boat breakdowns continuing to affect King County Water Taxi service, it would seem the two brand-new 250-passenger boats the county plans to build can’t be ready soon enough.

They won’t be ready as soon as hoped for, though – the county has to send the project out to bid a second time, and plans to add to the budget.

This means the schedule for delivery “has slipped a few months,” according to King County Councilmember (and Ferry District Board chair) Joe McDermott‘s legislative assistant Michelle Allison. Now, she tells WSB, “we are planning to receive the first vessel in late 2014 and the second in the first quarter of 2015.”

As discussed at the most recent Ferry District Board meeting, Allison tells WSB, the county Procurement Division reported that the first Request for Qualifications attracted two qualified potential proposers – but in the ensuing Request for Proposals (RFP) process, only one submitted a bid, and that was determined to be “unresponsive” – over the $11.1 million construction budget. The county sought a third-party engineer’s estimate for the two-boat plan, and that “confirmed what our qualified bidders were telling the county,” says Allison, so as a result, the district is adding more than $800,000 to the $11.1 million construction budget for the new vessels – mostly from grant money (which is also the source of about 80 percent of the originally budgeted amount); $166,000 will come from Ferry District reserves, assuming the proposed budget increase is approved.

According to county documents, the specs for the new boats have been revised to call for a design involving two propeller engines “to reduce construction and fuel costs.”

Meantime, while ridership on the West Seattle Water Taxi was down for four consecutive months – compared to last year – through May, totals posted online indicate a turnaround that yielded the highest June ridership ever, up 35 percent from the year before.

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PM commute notes: West Seattle Water Taxi service canceled for tonight, back tomorrow; downtown buses, roads back to normal http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/pm-commute-notes-west-seattle-water-taxi-service-canceled-for-tonight-downtown-buses-roads-back-to-normal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/08/pm-commute-notes-west-seattle-water-taxi-service-canceled-for-tonight-downtown-buses-roads-back-to-normal/#comments Mon, 12 Aug 2013 23:59:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=160844 (UPDATED 8:48 PM with Water Taxi returning Tuesday)

Two PM commute notes:

WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI: King County has just sent word that the West Seattle Water Taxi is canceled for tonight because of mechanical trouble. (Backup boat Rachel Marie had already been pressed into service on the Vashon run.) **Update – The West Seattle run WILL be back tomorrow, the county says (8:48 pm), using Melissa Ann.**

BUSES, ROADS BACK TO NORMAL DOWNTOWN: In case you missed the updates in our separate coverage of the shooting aftermath downtown – bus service is back to normal and all roads have reopened, according to Metro, SPD, and SDOT.

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West Seattle Water Taxi: Spirit of Kingston goes into service tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/west-seattle-water-taxi-spirit-of-kingston-goes-into-service-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/west-seattle-water-taxi-spirit-of-kingston-goes-into-service-tomorrow/#comments Fri, 17 May 2013 18:47:00 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=151743

(WSB photo from April 23)
Exactly two months after news that King County would take possession of the Spirit of Kingston and put it on the West Seattle Water Taxi run – the change is about to happen. We just got word from the office of King County Councilmember Joe McDermott that Spirit of Kingston will take over the run starting tomorrow (Saturday), which means that, after three years, 25-year-old Rachel Marie will become a backup boat. Kingston got the 7-year-old SoK through federal grants but scrapped its foot-ferry service and would have had to pay the grants back if this transfer – which brings the boat here almost for free, as explained in our November report – hadn’t happened. More to come.

ADDED 1:39 PM: The county’s official announcement has just arrived via e-mail – read on:

The King County Ferry District’s new vessel, Spirit of Kingston, will make her inaugural trip to West Seattle from downtown Seattle’s Pier 50 at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18.

The 65-foot catamaran recently joined the King County Ferry District’s fleet of water taxis after being acquired at no cost through an agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The King County Ferry District was able to acquire the FTA funded vessel after its former operator, Port of Kingston, discontinued service to Seattle last fall.

In addition to improved service reliability, the acquisition will help the district reduce operational costs. The district estimates it will save more than $425,000 on lease and rental expenses over the next five years.

“Water taxi riders will benefit from increased reliability as the Kingston sets sail. This is another example of the District’s efforts to work efficiently and provide dependable service for the thousands of riders who rely on the water taxi to get to work, school or play,” said Joe McDermott, chair of the King County Ferry District.

Since acquiring the eight-year old vessel earlier this year, the Ferry District’s Marine Division has been performing crew training and modifying the boarding area to accommodate passenger loading. The vessel also recently underwent a complete U.S. Coast Guard inspection.

The vessel carries up to 147 passengers and will replace the Rachel Marie, an older leased vessel that has been providing service between West Seattle’s Seacrest Park and the downtown Seattle waterfront since April, 2010. The Rachel Marie will now serve as a back-up when other vessels are out of service for maintenance or repairs. A third boat, the Melissa Ann, provides weekday service between Vashon Island and downtown Seattle.

The district contracts with the King County Department of Transportation’s Marine Division to provide passenger-only ferry service.

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