West Seattle Water Taxi numbers, before/after 99 Squeeze

As promised, we have before/after numbers on the West Seattle Water Taxi, through the prism of the Highway 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct lane-reduction “squeeze” that began one week ago today.

For the week BEFORE the Squeeze, morning-commute ridership averaged 90 passengers daily, afternoon-commute ridership averaged 150 passengers daily.

For last week, the numbers jumped 50+ percent in the morning – averaging 140 passengers – and doubled in the pm, to 300.

From the office of King County Councilmember Joe McDermott (who also chairs the King County Ferry District Board), Michelle Allison says, “We look forward to this trend continuing. There is still plenty of room on the boat and the free shuttle that meets the taxi at Seacrest dock, bringing riders to several important transfer points, including 35th and Avalon. From here riders can catch the 54, 55, 21 and 22 buses.” (The schedule for the 775 to Admiral/Alki is here; the schedule for the 773 to The Junction, and part-time to Morgan Junction, is here.)

30 Replies to "West Seattle Water Taxi numbers, before/after 99 Squeeze"

  • Noelle May 23, 2011 (12:21 pm)

    Wow- Thats a LOT of people! Very cool!

  • Diane May 23, 2011 (12:34 pm)

    So just curious re suggestion to connect to 54, 55, 21 and 22 buses with Water Taxi; until couple years ago, you could transfer to bus from Water Taxi, or use bus transfer plus $1 to take WT; which made for great option for those of us who are not lucky enough to have employer provided bus pass; from what I’ve read, transfers can no longer be used between bus and WT, so without a bus pass, wouldn’t it cost $7 RT for WT, plus $5 RT for peak bus?

  • sam-c May 23, 2011 (12:40 pm)

    can you take bikes on the water taxi shuttle ?

  • Temple Stark May 23, 2011 (12:41 pm)

    Hmm, how many water taxis could you buy instead of fixing the viaduct? Just good to compare and think about, though of course the viaduct delivers goods and services elsewhere. (I-5 pretty handy in that regard, too.)

  • K May 23, 2011 (12:51 pm)

    You can take bikes on the water taxi shuttle, they’re set-up for bikes just the way metro buses are sam-c.

  • water taxi rider May 23, 2011 (12:57 pm)

    there is only about 18 seats on the free shuttle. if ridership continues the free shuttles will have to turn people away.

  • dave May 23, 2011 (12:59 pm)

    what is the capacity of the water taxi per day and per ride and what percentage are we up to?

    Also, what is the cost to run this per passenger and what is the income like? Seems very a very expensive way to travel.

  • tom May 23, 2011 (2:18 pm)

    i wonder if this has anything to do with the weather. it’s not clear what the time period is for the before and after viaduct repairs.

  • cjboffoli May 23, 2011 (2:26 pm)

    Many cities and states have discovered the hard way that spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build extra lanes of highway does little to alleviate traffic. In fact, it might even make it worse.
    It is affirming to see that all of those West Seattlites warning of doom and gloom with this lane reduction were shortsighted. Yes, we have some unique topographic challenges here. But this demonstrates that people CAN adapt and there are indeed more creative solutions to our traffic issues than just taking out multi-year, multi-billion dollar bond issues for more traffic lanes.
    Smaller cars and lower speed limits (requiring less space between cars) can increase the volume of existing lanes. More ferry and bus riders, carpooling, and bicycles can all be a viable part of a solution.

  • Kelly May 23, 2011 (2:54 pm)

    You can take bikes on the water taxi–I did last week and enjoyed a gorgeous scenic ride around Alki instead of my normal industrial ride. I do worry about capacity, though. I think there’s only room for about 10 bikes in the racks.

    On pretty summer days I guess you’d better get in line early (bikes and peds alike!)

  • Sal May 23, 2011 (3:10 pm)

    I have seen about 12 bikes on the water taxi in the past. It could probably do 20 or so.

  • watertowerjoey May 23, 2011 (3:47 pm)

    “It is affirming to see that all of those West Seattlites warning of doom and gloom with this lane reduction were shortsighted”

    I can only speak for myself but my commute has more than doubled to 30 minutes each way (roughly).

    This may improve over time, but a doubling of my commute is “doom and gloom” confirmation.

    We need to turn one of the WB lanes on the Spokane street viaduct/WS bridge into a reversible lane. This would clear up the bottleneck between the exit to 99 and 1st Avenue S. and allow more people to use 4th avenue into downtown.

  • Sasha May 23, 2011 (3:50 pm)

    Can you take a sea-kayak on the water taxi?
    They do this in Canada between the islands as many folks still have further water travel to reach their destination.

  • YarnCore May 23, 2011 (3:53 pm)

    I’m with the person who said that the shuttles will have to turn people away. I’ve seen it happen, and they don’t allow people to stand on the shuttles they have. Also, the shuttles don’t always run as late as the water taxi does, and there aren’t any viable bus options down there other than the 37 which is pretty limited and has a very long way to go before hitting the junction. I’ve taken a hefty hike up to the Admiral District before because of all of this. They need to work out the shuttle situation, because until then it isn’t a reasonable option for a lot of people who are looking for a SHORTER commute.

  • sam-c May 23, 2011 (4:27 pm)

    thanks ‘K’- yeah- I couldn’t recall ever seeing if the little shuttle had the bike rack on the front, like the buses.

  • Dee May 23, 2011 (4:42 pm)

    For me so far, the commuted back and forth from Ballard to West SEattle has remained the same. I thought it would add about 30 minutes each way, but so far nada. Same amount of time.

  • Lorelee May 23, 2011 (4:43 pm)

    Hooray! Is this justification for adding more frequent shuttle runs???

  • Dee May 23, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    “the commute”

  • Gene May 23, 2011 (5:02 pm)

    First – great to see the Water Taxi numbers going up!
    Dave, if we want to look at the costs of infrastructure, then lets also look at the roads and what driving costs us in terms of road maintenance and health related damages. The Water Taxi is a nice option, and while it may not be as cost effective as our — heavily subsidized — driving, it’s great to have the option. If we want to have the cost discussion, let’s at least have it honestly and evaluate all the options without externalities and subsidized costs…

  • A May 23, 2011 (10:02 pm)

    Lower the price! $7 rt is TOO much! We no longer ride it.

  • cjboffoli May 23, 2011 (11:01 pm)

    $7.00 roundtrip is too much? I’d bet if you added up the average daily cost of car payments, insurance, maintenance, fuel and downtown parking $7.00/day would look like an absolute bargain.

  • bike2work May 23, 2011 (11:14 pm)

    I agree…cost for water taxi is way too much and schedule is way too limiting! We don’t ride anymore. Granted, I’ve never used it for regular work commute because the schedule stinks…I just bike to work. But I used to love it for taking family downtown or to the stadiums…but never again…cost for the 5 of us is $35 bucks/roundtrip. Much cheaper and far more convenient to drive.

  • Tony S May 24, 2011 (7:25 am)

    How much freight can you transport from north Seattle & the industrial Lk Union area to points south on the water taxi? Oh wait, the viaduct is used for more than just getting people down town. I forgot about that.

  • Yardark May 24, 2011 (7:34 am)

    Will we ever get a water taxi to serve the southern half of W. Seattle that leaves from the Fauntleroy docks?
    I’d really like to see an increase in private water taxis, and maybe that would be a good opportunity.

  • William May 24, 2011 (12:37 pm)

    I’d like to know how many people are riding the water taxi compared to similar time periods in past years. Metro used to report every year big gains in riders. I’ve not heard any news on this for the past couple of years. Are the increases reported above just relative to this year – when the water taxi was out of commission frequently?

  • austin May 24, 2011 (3:29 pm)

    Roundtrip is $6 with an orca card. A buck more than taking the bus. No complaints here.

  • Jasperblu May 24, 2011 (11:00 pm)

    The water taxi is of little use for those of us at the south end of the WS Peninsula if we have to spend an hour between the bus and then the free shuttle just to get to the water taxi dock, then ride across, then walk or bus it from the pier to our downtown jobs. For the cost of a bus pass (or Orca card), and limited parking AT the water taxi dock, it just doesn’t seem like it will work for my commute. Which is too bad, because I’d actually love to get in/out of downtown for work this way.
    TR, can you direct WSB readers to a city site, or link of some sort that gives a real break down of what it would cost to ride the water taxi 5 days a week RT, plus the cost of getting to/from the water taxi from the south end of WS (eg. Fauntleroy, Westwood Village, Arbor Heights), driving & parking at the dock, etc. I’m just not clear how this would work for regular commuting vs. occasional ridership to visit downtown for an event or shopping.
    Right now, it looks like I’d be better off buying a parking space downtown & just driving. Or catching a bus on 35th and skipping the water taxi idea. Which is too bad. :(

    • WSB May 24, 2011 (11:45 pm)

      There is no such site that I know of. You’d just have to add fares together. I don’t know if having an Orca card involves any sort of a break.

  • metrognome May 25, 2011 (1:52 am)

    for those of you who are whining about the water taxi and the 2 FREE shuttles, keep in mind that every homeowner in the county is paying a property assessment to fund the WT (reduced from 5.5 cents/$1k to 1/3 cent for 2010 budget); the only curently funded water taxi routes serve WS and Vashon. If I lived in a rural area of the county, I’d be a little irritated by this.

    For those who want statistics, go to the KCFD home page (link in story), click on News & …, click on Materials, scroll down to the last document (Research and Ridership report, 12/10) and click again.

  • Chuck May 25, 2011 (7:36 pm)

    Would be interesting to compare the ridership in this time period for the last 10 years. Weather always had a large effect on rider numbers, especially sunny days.

    -I agree about the comments for those living on the south end- the WT is difficult to justify riding when you spend a lot of time getting there. A taxi/ferry would be great from Fauntleroy to downtown, but unfortunately, you don’t make money operating a ferry. The costs are huge, and private companies don’t see to make profit from it. King County is leasing the boats now, and paying large amounts in wages. When they contracted it out, the costs were lower to operate it.

    -For those of you missing the Sightseer- it’s now doing tours in Kirkland for the summer. She looks so good- new interior carpet and paint. The old deck up topside looks fabulous too- layers of paint all gone. Hope the people of Kirkland love it as much as the old regular riders did.

Sorry, comment time is over.