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

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.”

8 Replies to "New West Seattle water taxi Doc Maynard launches, starts sea trials"

  • rob August 11, 2015 (1:54 pm)

    is this service sustainable? based on the numbers above, the biggest year so far would be only a little more than $1M in revenue. doesn’t seem like it would be possible to run maintain the boats, pay the crew, pay for fuel, etc. on that amount.

  • westseattledood August 11, 2015 (5:44 pm)

    Not only do I support the existing water taxis, I support any and all efforts to vastly expand ridership to multiple locations.

    Furthermore, I suggest we Puget Sound citizens united in lobbying for new Washington State ferries across the board. A fleet of passenger hydrofoils on a jumbo scale running contemporary north-south routes will be one of the smartest investments we who love and seek to preserve our evergreen state will make.

    Ignore the negative Normans and small minds who fret so and are fearful. We must, as stewards of the future pathways, look to regional transportation being linked with bus, train, boat and bike. We must look to Vancouver BC as our model or we are truly failing future generations.

    Ask yourself what might an activated waterway with thousands being transported daily in public/private partnerships would do to our current traffic issues.

    Don’t let the worry warts big down the obvious solutions.

    Support the water taxi expansion enthusiastically and seek the overhaul of state ferry fleets.

  • Gina August 12, 2015 (6:09 am)

    If we could get a water taxi from Fauntleroy / Vashon terminal / Lincoln Park to downtown it would be wonderful. I would think it could have a dramatic impact on commuting woes.

  • Scot August 12, 2015 (7:58 am)

    rob, public transit modes generally only recover about 20-30% of operating expenses from farebox revenue. Transit itself is not a profitable industry (it’s why there are really no private transit operators in this country). But considering that the water taxi removes several hundred cars off of the bridge each day, and (in the summer time) allows cruise ship tourists with easy access to Alki and other West Seattle businesses, I’d say it’s a worthwhile investment. Also, its a darn nice ride.

  • natinstl August 12, 2015 (9:53 am)

    I really wish this was a more viable option for commuting to downtown. Even though I work right above the downtown ferry dock getting to the taxi in West Seattle isn’t feasible. The shuttles are too limited and with them being limited to the Junction in the morning it take me longer to commute. They need a bus that circulates to a wider area or as someone else mentioned having it leave from the ferry dock on Fauntleroy might be easier because buses are already running there.

  • Lisa S. August 12, 2015 (1:21 pm)

    Seems like as ridership grows it makes sense to build a parking structure where the current lot is located.

  • owen August 12, 2015 (1:33 pm)

    I’ve always wondered about the financial viability of the water taxi, but on looking into it, it seems that the water taxi does about as well as the bus at paying for itself. According to the 2014 annual report, farebox recovery for the water taxi is 31.5 percent. By comparison, the whole King County Metro has a target of 25 percent farebox recovery and in 2013 actual recovery was 29.1 percent. Makes sense to me to keep building the water taxi as long as its on par with the buses.

  • Val August 13, 2015 (8:32 am)

    We should expand the water taxi routes as much as possible along with better/more bus routes to and from the dock on west Seattle side. When the Viaduct comes down it will be a life saver for West Seattle commuters!

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