King County Water Taxi – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 23 Jun 2018 19:31:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UPDATE: West Seattle, Vashon Water Taxi service resumes after Colman Dock evacuation ends Sat, 05 May 2018 00:03:08 +0000 (Added: Photo by Carolyn Newman showing vessels awaiting the all-clear, including both King County Water Taxis)

5:03 PM: The West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi routes are both suspended right now because Colman Dock downtown has been evacuated. Via Twitter, Washington State Ferries explains why:

Updates to come.

5:20 PM: And from SPD:

If you need to head westward across the Sound, we do NOT advise trying Fauntleroy-Southworth as an alternate – it had a major Friday afternoon backup going even before this.

5:52 PM: Colman Dock is reopening, SPD just announced:

Now we’re just waiting for word on Water Taxi management about how/when service will resume.

6:27 PM: From KCDOT:

The Vashon and West Seattle Water Taxi routes are resuming service. The West Seattle route will resume service with the 6:25 sailing from Seacrest Dock and the Vashon route resumes service from Pier 52 at 6:30pm.

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TRAFFIC/TRANSIT ALERTS: Downtown shutdowns for Saudi Crown Prince’s visit; Water Taxi runs canceled Sat, 31 Mar 2018 00:45:19 +0000 5:45 PM: No specifics have been announced for security concerns, but the Saudi Crown Prince is in the area this afternoon and Seattle Police say downtown traffic is about to be affected – temporary shutdowns for a motorcade route. So if you are, or have to go through, downtown, you might want to wait a bit. He arrived in Everett this afternoon after flying from New York.

(WSB photo: Water Taxi on Friday night after service resumed)

6:35 PM: We don’t know if this is related, but we just got an alert that West Seattle Water Taxi runs are canceled between now and 7:30 pm, when service will resume with the run from Pier 52 downtown.

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WATER TAXI REMINDER: 7-day-a-week schedule starts March 29th Tue, 20 Mar 2018 23:43:39 +0000

We just happened to be close enough to Seacrest to get that photo of the West Seattle Water Taxi arriving, shortly after King County sent out this reminder about the seasonal schedule change kicking in a week from Thursday (March 29th), as we first mentioned last month:

The new schedule includes sailings seven days a week between West Seattle and Pier 52 in downtown Seattle. The Water Taxi will also offer evening sailings on Fridays, Saturdays, and during Seattle Mariners, Sounders, and Seahawks night home games.

Sports fans can enjoy traffic-free travel to both the March 29 Mariners home opener at Safeco Field and the Sounders March 31 match at CenturyLink Field.

For an adult one-way fare of $5.75 ($5 with an ORCA card), passengers can enjoy a 15-minute ride across Elliott Bay with views (weather permitting) of the Seattle skyline, Mount Rainier, and Olympic Mountains—and avoid paying for parking in Seattle.

Added sailings on weekdays will mean boats leave every 30 minutes during peak commute hours and every hour in off-peak times.

The Water Taxi is accessible by transit. In West Seattle, riders can take free Metro shuttles to and from the Water Taxi landing at Seacrest Park. Route 773 serves the West Seattle Junction. Route 775 serves the Admiral District and Alki. Both also serve destinations offering dining, shopping, and other entertainment.

The Vashon Island Water Taxi schedule stays the same throughout the year (visit to learn more).

If you haven’t been on the WT in a while – remember that the downtown dock continues to be in its temporary location north of Colman Dock. (We’re checking on progress of the new dock.)

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WATER TAXI: Spirit of Kingston on West Seattle run TFN because of Sally Fox damage Tue, 20 Feb 2018 20:43:02 +0000 As noted this morning in our traffic/transit coverage, the smaller Spirit of Kingston is on the West Seattle Water Taxi run because the regular WS vessel Doc Maynard is filling in for Sally Fox on the Vashon run. We’ve confirmed with the King County Department of Transportation that Sally Fox is out TFN for repairs. From Marine Division director Paul Brodeur:

The AM maintenance crew reporting to work yesterday morning discovered a line had parted overnight on the Sally Fox. This caused the Sally Fox to slip back against a hard edge of the moorage and maintenance barge. As a result of this, the rub rail and deck edge near the passenger loading station was damaged. The vessel has been moved to a local shipyard for repairs. There is no estimate at this time as to how long repairs will take.

This follows Sunday’s windstorm; we have a followup question out about whether that’s what KCDOT thinks is to blame. Both Water Taxi runs are on five-day-a-week operation right now; the West Seattle run moves to its 7-day-a-week schedule on March 29th.

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Water Taxi fares rise on March 1st: Here’s what you’ll pay starting then Wed, 14 Feb 2018 21:48:12 +0000 (WSB photo, July 2017)

A reminder from the King County Department of Transportation today – Water Taxi fares are going up March 1st. From the announcement:

For adults paying with ORCA, the one-way fare will be $5 per rider on the West Seattle route and $5.75 per rider on the Vashon Island route.

Adults paying with cash will pay $5.75 for West Seattle and $6.75 for Vashon Island.

Seniors and riders with disabilities will pay $2.50 for West Seattle and $3 for Vashon Island, a 25-cent increase over current fares.

Youth ORCA users and ORCA LIFT riders will now pay $3.75 a ride for West Seattle (25 cents more per ride) and $4.50 (50 cents more per ride) for Vashon Island. Children 5 years old and under can still ride the Water Taxi for free. To view all fare changes scheduled for March 1, visit our website and choose a route.

The fare policy was established when the Water Taxi operated under the King County Ferry District and was then adopted by King County. Fare increases have taken place every two years since 2012. Fare revenue helps King County meet fare box recovery targets and keep pace with rising costs to deliver safe, reliable and efficient Water Taxi service.

The King County Water Taxi continues to grow in popularity, providing riders with a congestion-free commute into downtown Seattle. In 2017, the Water Taxi carried nearly 600,000 riders combined on the West Seattle and Vashon Island routes. These two routes combined for more than 13,300 annual trip segments with over a 99-percent reliability rating.

Two more Water Taxi notes: The 5-day-a-week winter schedule runs through the end of March; and as noted in our morning commute coverage, remember that the Water Taxi will not be in service next Monday (Presidents Day).

ADDED 2:54 PM: We confirmed with KCDOT’s Brent Champaco that the spring/summer Water Taxi schedule really is starting on a Thursday (March 29th), different from years past. He explains that the date was chosen because it’s the Mariners’ home opener.

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WATER TAXI ALERT: Delays tonight, with regular boat out of service Fri, 01 Dec 2017 01:32:58 +0000 (Added: Texted photo – Spirit of Kingston at Seacrest tonight)

Thanks to the person who texted about a delay in the West Seattle Water Taxi’s departure from downtown around 5 pm. We hadn’t found the reason until this alert just came in:

The West Seattle and Vashon routes of the Water Taxi could be delayed at least 10-15 minutes tonight as all route departures will use the north side of the Pier 52 dock. The Doc Maynard has been taken out of service due to mechanical issues. West Seattle will resume service with the 5:25 pm departure from Pier 52 on the Spirit of Kingston.

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WEST SEATTLE WATER TAXI: Record ridership reported for September Thu, 12 Oct 2017 03:00:44 +0000 (WSB photo from last Friday)(WSB photo from July)

Ridership last month on both King County Water Taxi routes set September records, the county DOT says. The new numbers were published today, including:

The West Seattle route (had) 42,444 riders in September, up from 41,057 during the same month last year, representing a 3.4-percent increase.

Total year-to-date ridership is slightly down from last year’s record pace, the report adds, while noting various potential factors likely playing into that, including the five-day service interruption in August when the downtown dock was moved to its temporary location while its new permanent terminal is built. You can see a full month-by-month breakdown via the Data tab on this page of the Water Taxi website. October 29th, by the way, is the last day of this year’s seven-day-a-week schedule; you can preview the weekday-only winter schedule here.

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VIDEO: West Seattle Water Taxi crew’s orca encounter Mon, 18 Sep 2017 18:21:45 +0000

What a way to start the day! Thanks to the King County Water Taxi‘s West Seattle crew for sharing that video – from the Doc Maynard, they saw orcas on this morning’s 6:15 and 6:35 am sailings, Frank Massaro tells WSB, adding that crew member Jade Farrar recorded the video during the latter.

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WATER TAXI: Extended schedule Sunday night Sat, 19 Aug 2017 04:37:41 +0000 With a Sunday night Sounders FC match, the West Seattle Water Taxi will be on its extended schedule all weekend, as announced tonight. And in case this weekend will be the first time you’ve taken the WSWT since its dock and schedule change – see the new schedule here; last trip from the new dock north of the state-ferry terminal tonight, Saturday, and this Sunday will be 10:45 pm.

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RETURN OF THE WATER TAXI: West Seattle on Saturday, Vashon on Monday Fri, 11 Aug 2017 21:09:10 +0000

The Water Taxi website says it’s official: “King County Water Taxi will resume service out of its temporary location at Pier 52 beginning Saturday, Aug. 12 for the West Seattle route, which will operate on a new sailing schedule. The Vashon Island route will resume service on its normal sailing schedule beginning Monday, Aug. 14.” Both routes have been out of service since Monday so that the dock could move from the south side of the main downtown ferry terminal to the north side (see map above). It’ll be there for about a year and a half while the new passenger-ferry terminal is built on the site of the old one.

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WATER TAXI UPDATE: West Seattle service could resume as early as Saturday Fri, 11 Aug 2017 02:21:02 +0000 As noted here, we asked the county for a Water Taxi update earlier today – how the move to the new temporary dock is going, and whether service might resume short of the “up to one week” that they said they’d need. Tonight, Water Taxi spokesperson Brent Champaco tells us that West Seattle service could resume as soon as Saturday – and that’s also just been published on the Water Taxi website. So – definitely no service tomorrow (Friday, August 11th), but the county will determine whether they’ll be ready to go on Saturday, which would be good because the Mariners and Sounders both play at home. (The Vashon Water Taxi would resume Monday, since it doesn’t run weekends anyway.) So watch for an update tomorrow.

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TRAFFIC/TRANSIT TODAY: Monday watch; first day without Water Taxi service Mon, 07 Aug 2017 13:39:37 +0000

(SDOT MAP with travel times/video links; is the ‘low bridge’ closed? LOOK HERE)

6:39 AM: Welcome to a new week! No incidents in/from West Seattle so far.

NO WATER TAXI SERVICE: Today’s biggest alert – this is the first day of up to a week without King County Water Taxi service. Both the West Seattle and Vashon runs are on hiatus until the new temporary dock on the north side of the downtown ferry terminal is ready to go – as recapped in our reminder published last night.

PAVING REMINDER: Both Beach Drive near Andover and 63rd SW north of Admiral have paving projects in progress. At week’s end, SDOT said that the 63rd project would continue through tomorrow.

STATE FERRIES: The M/V Issaquah, which had mechanical trouble yesterday and left the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route for a while, is repaired and back in service, WSF says.

8 AM: WSF now reports fog delays of up to 20 minutes on the route.

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REMINDER: No West Seattle or Vashon Water Taxi service starting Monday, for up to a week Mon, 07 Aug 2017 02:31:35 +0000

One more reminder: The King County Water Taxi is out of service as of tomorrow (Monday, August 7th), for up to a week. That’s a shorter maximum duration than what was originally announced in June, when KCDOT first said a service interruption would be needed for the move to a temporary downtown dock to be used during the overhaul of the permanent site on the south side of Colman Dock. Then in June, a followup announcement included the start date for the interruption, plus the plan for it to last no more than a week. When service resumes, the Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit‘s foot ferries will be using the new temporary dock, which is under construction as of last Monday (WSB coverage here) on the north side of Colman Dock. The temp dock will be in use for about a year and a half, with a revised schedule (find it here), too.

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VIDEO: Construction begins for temporary Water Taxi dock downtown Tue, 01 Aug 2017 18:07:57 +0000

That’s the first of nine piles, each up to 100 feet tall and 3 feet wide, that’ll be driven for the new temporary King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit foot-ferry dock on the north side of Washington State Ferries‘ main downtown terminal Colman Dock. The work is starting right now, and we’re at Colman Dock for a media briefing.

As reported here previously, the Water Taxi will suspend service for up to a week, starting next Monday (August 7th), so it can move operations to the temporary dock by the following Monday (August 14th). (Added: Here’s video of Water Taxi spokesperson Brent Champaco:)

The temporary dock is expected to be in use for up to a year and a half while the new passenger-only-ferry terminal is built on the south side of Colman Dock, in the same spot where the current one is. Colman Dock itself also will be renovated/rebuilt over the next five years.

In comments after previous reports, some have wondered why work is starting now, during the peak of summer; at today’s media briefing, it was reiterated that this is because today is the first day of the six-and-a-half month annual period to which in-water construction is limited, to protect salmon and other wildlife. If the full construction period isn’t utilized each year, the completion of the full Colman Dock project could be delayed. And here’s one reason why they need to get going – a section of an old piling with holes from gribbles:

So to recap: No Water Taxi for up to a week starting next Monday; once service resumes, the downtown dock will be in its new temporary location north of Colman Dock, by the waterfront fire station. (Side note: Kitsap Transit’s foot ferry is continuing service during the switch by using Pier 54, further north; Water Taxi reps explain their vessels are too big for that.) More photos/info to come.

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WATER TAXI UPDATES: New survey for you; latest on dock move, ridership numbers Thu, 27 Jul 2017 19:42:19 +0000 (WSB photo from last Friday)

The latest government service/agency/etc. asking for your feedback via an online survey – the King County Water Taxi. The new survey is phrased as if you are on board, so if you aren’t riding it today, you might consider answering from the standpoint of your most recent ride, or the reasons you usually use it, even if you only ride a few times a year. The survey starts here.

The WT website Captain’s Blog also provides two updates of potential interest to Water Taxi riders. The newest is about the soon-to-start Colman Dock overhaul that will result in a new foot-ferry terminal; read it here. It’s also a reminder that one week from Monday – starting August 7th – Water Taxi service will be interrupted for up to a week while its downtown terminal moves to an interim location north of Colman Dock.

The other notable update has some new numbers on Water Taxi ridership, including a 7.2 percent increase on the West Seattle run last month over the same period last year. But month-by-month numbers on the “data” tab of this WT-website page have not been updated since the end of last year.

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