West Seattle Water Taxi service canceled at least until next Monday

3:27 PM: Just in from King County:

Service on the West Seattle Water Taxi is cancelled this afternoon because the Rachel Marie [WSB file photo at left] is undergoing repairs. Service will not resume before next Monday, March 28. Passengers should watch for service updates later in the week and over the weekend via the Water Taxi website and subscriber alerts.

… and, of course, here. ADDED 4:05 PM: Linda Thielke with county DOT says the problem was discovered yesterday; the decision for “more extensive repairs” was made today. ADDED 4:18 PM: Matt Reichmann with county DOT answered our question about exactly what’s wrong:

*A small fracture was discovered in the hull of the Rachel Marie below the waterline. The King County Marine Division, in coordination with the Coast Guard, have developed a repair plan to repair the vessel’s aluminum hull plating in way of the fracture. This work will require the Rachel Marie to be put up in dry-dock and be taken out of service through at least the end of this week. …We don’t know when it happened. It was discovered after Monday’s commute and temporary repairs were made for this morning.

We also asked why the Rachel Marie wasn’t being replaced with an Argosy vessel, as it had been for much of the time after last year’s crash; the county says that was investigated but is “not feasible” for this week.

26 Replies to "West Seattle Water Taxi service canceled at least until next Monday"

  • pumpkin March 22, 2011 (4:47 pm)

    Does anyone else really miss the old water taxi? In my opinion, it never seemed to break down, it was charming and it docked a lot closer to the heart of Downtown.

  • WestSide45 March 22, 2011 (5:13 pm)

    When Argosy ran the Water Taxi was it ever out of service, for any reason? I can’t recall any time is was out, although I may be mistaken. It’s a good thing we have the government running things now; everything is much smoother ;)

  • Genesee Hill March 22, 2011 (5:20 pm)

    The Titanic was privately run.

  • metrognome March 22, 2011 (5:27 pm)

    Argosy never ‘ran’ the Water Taxi; they were a contractor to King County Metro. Their main vessel did have problems from time to time, but they were able to provide another vessel from their fleet. If they had ‘run’ the service, the fares would have been considerably higher.

    Also, since King County formed the ferry district and the KCDOT Marine Division took over operations, the Water Taxi is running year-round now instead of just in the warm months. BTW, the vessel is leased and is named after the daughter of one of the owners.

  • wsgolfer March 22, 2011 (5:28 pm)

    Genesee Hill, your comment had me laughing out loud. Thanks!

  • Genesee Hill March 22, 2011 (5:47 pm)

    Thank you metrognome! And, wsgolfer, you are welcome!

  • sna March 22, 2011 (6:06 pm)

    Argosy was better and 1/3 the cost to the county.


  • JayDee March 22, 2011 (7:23 pm)

    One wonders if temporary repairs means “duct tape”. Seems odd that Rachel Marie would need hull repairs so soon after the last ones. I seem to recall that the corrosion of aluminum boat hulls in salt water means these boats are nearing the end of their service life…

  • D. Wulkan March 22, 2011 (7:48 pm)

    Just proves this is not a viable form of transport. As heavily subsidized by taxpayers as it is, it’s totally unreliable even for tourists. Maybe a bridge over the water or a tunnel underneath would work better!

  • Michael March 22, 2011 (9:31 pm)

    I hope they get the replacement boat problems solved before the Viaduct starts coming down.
    P.S.: Argosy was not “better.” They were “there,” that was all. The boat was slow and pollutey. And ALL transit is “heavily subsidized,” with the king of all heavy subsidies being ROADS.

  • Dude #2 March 22, 2011 (9:37 pm)

    Another wanna be skipper having a tough time back parking the old girl?!

  • A March 22, 2011 (9:55 pm)

    Liked it better before when Argosy ran it. And the prices now are too high. We never take it anymore.

  • eileen March 22, 2011 (10:06 pm)

    It’s hard to want to keep taking it when you can’t rely on it getting you home. If you’ve driven down to Harbor ave and then they yank the ferry you’re out of luck. If they need to do this, why can’t they make just one evening run? If they want us to believe this is a real link from west seattle to the city, why do they treat it like it’s something that is not necessary? I know there are more riders to Vashon, but there ARE WS riders and they should make at least ONE evening run and not totally leave us stranded.

  • sna March 22, 2011 (10:16 pm)

    Since the county took over, ridership is down 40%. That makes me think Argosy must have been better.

  • **!!** March 22, 2011 (10:54 pm)

    I loved the old clunker boat. It was fun to ride! We were on the RM when she crashed and it was very scary having a 2 monthold baby strapped to me. My 3yr old still asks why it crashed and I have no desire to get back on. She’s cursed:-/

  • Gene March 22, 2011 (11:16 pm)

    D. Wulkan – the water taxi is subsidized, but you do realize the roads are also heavily subsidized by both taxpayer dollars and by things like tax payer health (due to particulates from car/truck exhaust)? This is true at just about every level – local through Federal government (and in both direct and indirect subsidies).

    Totally with you that we should remove all the transportation, and fuel use, subsidies and externalities!

  • sna March 22, 2011 (11:22 pm)

    Whatever the subsidy is, its 3 times more with the county running it. And it will only grow when they buy their own boats.
    In a year of service, we got a crash, several cancellations, a 40% drop in service, and let us not forget the theft of 26 separate cash vaults stolen by one of the county’s much higher paid operators. https://westseattleblog.com/2010/06/update-more-information-on-water-taxi-fare-money-theft. How in the world did that go unnoticed for so long? Remeber, the county replaced Argosy so we could have something “more professional”. Yes, professional thefts, cancellations, break downs, and crashes.
    I love the taxi, but it will be cancelled at the pace its heading.

  • CandrewB March 23, 2011 (6:03 am)

    Hate to say it, I liked the Argosy service much better.

  • foy boy March 23, 2011 (8:58 am)

    Face it , the water taxi is just another carnival ride nothing more. If people want to ride it then pay what it takes to run it. Just like flying you have to pay to play.

  • Emily March 23, 2011 (9:30 am)

    So if the boat is cancelled, why was the shuttle running this morning?

  • pumpkin March 23, 2011 (11:49 am)

    Emily, I Believe the shuttle services the Junction/Admiral/Alki in addition to transporing folks to/from the Water Taxi and anyone can get on even if they are not Water Taxi customers.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident March 23, 2011 (12:15 pm)

    Yes, roads are the highest subsidized transportation option.
    It also happens to the MOST efficient and used method of getting from one place to the other and more importantly, getting goods to stores/markets.
    Metro ridership, Cycling and all other forms make up approx 7-9% of all commuting.
    The BIGGEST waste of subsidies is the Link Light Rail; over $23.00 per trip/per person, yet the fare is only $2.75.
    Now I support mass transit, but until the county pulls its head out (I’m not holding my breath) and revamps routes, times and budgets it will always be the far distant second choice to go from a-to-b. Perfect example…I can’t remember the last time I saw ANYONE on the 125 (past Roxbury) after 8PM, yet EVERY night there it goes, an empty bus.

  • Kathy Kelleher March 23, 2011 (7:21 pm)

    We tried to take the water taxi yesterday,not knowing it was canceled. No signs at the dock or any indication until we asked the shuttle driver who told us it had been down all day. No signs today when we drove by ! We had walked down from N. Admiral headed to downtown- there is little real bus service in the area A sign would have been the least they could provide. Makes you hesitant to try to use it

  • Brittany Stewart March 23, 2011 (7:48 pm)

    Does anyone know the URL for the WS water taxi website, and where to subscribe for alerts? You’d think they’d at least provide a link when they advise to go to the website!

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