Should the Water Taxi charge extra for bicycles? Survey asks that and more

bikeswatertaxi(Photo courtesy Paul, taken aboard the Water Taxi during 2016 Viaduct closure)

Can’t tell how long it’s been in circulation, but a survey linked from the Water Taxi website has only three days left, and while it’s billed as a survey “to address bicycle capacity issues,” it includes questions of interest to all Water Taxi riders, not just those who bring bikes on board. One question asks whether the Water Taxi should charge extra for bicycles brought on board, and if you think so, how much. The county says the survey is open through Wednesday; you can start it here.

54 Replies to "Should the Water Taxi charge extra for bicycles? Survey asks that and more"

  • Salal December 17, 2018 (3:06 pm)


  • Q December 17, 2018 (3:16 pm)

    As long as they start charging extra for strollers, backpacks, people taking photos of the view, people with a bmi over 25, people who aren’t residents of king county, and people who use the shuttle to get to and from the water taxi, yeah it makes total sense to charge extra for bikes on the water taxi.Seriously, they need to start charging less for the water taxi and all other forms of mass transit and make it more expensive to drive the private automobiles that are actually causing the real problems with getting around Seattle today and into the future.

  • MacJ December 17, 2018 (3:28 pm)

    Only if they raise street parking prices around the dock. I’m tired of subsidizing car storage.

  • KBear December 17, 2018 (3:36 pm)

    No. The Water Taxi fare is high enough without adding extra fees. People should be ENCOURAGED to take alternative transportation, not punished with fees. If there’s not enough room, then boarding should be decided by place in line, not ability to pay.

  • Seavieu December 17, 2018 (3:40 pm)

    I don’t have an opinion either way, but they do charge for bicycles on Washington State Ferries.

  • Adam December 17, 2018 (3:57 pm)

    Pretty sure the whole point of the “12 million dollar a mile” bike lanes downtown is to encourage bike riding. I would like to see them get some use. No charge please. 

  • Brent December 17, 2018 (4:03 pm)

    That’s ridiculous. No way in hell would I pay that- it would be cheaper to take a cab. I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint and you’re gonna charge me for that?

    • KM December 17, 2018 (4:54 pm)

      Tax/charge for everything EXCEPT cars! The American Way!(but seriously, please don’t charge fees for bikes)

      • Pete December 17, 2018 (10:08 pm)

        Except for cars?! Do you not own a car or have you not paid your road tabs this year? WA of the highest on the country. 

        • Mike December 18, 2018 (7:41 pm)

          Ya, cars are heavily taxed. You pay tax on market value when purchased used, tax on sale price when new, taxed on its value for tabs, $0.45 / gallon at the pump is pure tax, toll lane tax…

  • junctioneer December 17, 2018 (4:04 pm)

    Note that they handed out and collected hard copies these surveys out at an evening commute last week for everyone boarding the water taxi.

    • WSB December 17, 2018 (4:07 pm)

      Thanks for that, didn’t seem likely the survey would be circulated online only and for three days only, but the announcement just appeared on the WT site without that context. – TR

  • Why not December 17, 2018 (4:06 pm)

    Why not charge for air and bathrooms also

  • Buttercup December 17, 2018 (4:14 pm)

    If Washington State ferry charges for bikes then the water taxi should also. Let them help pay for the cost of.area maintenance on water taxi, bike lanes downtown and the privilege to have them. 

    • AJP December 17, 2018 (8:36 pm)

      FYI: bike riders pay way more for their share of bike lanes and bike infrastructure than car drivers do. Car driving is highly subsidized. Also most bike riders are also car drivers. 

    • MrsL December 17, 2018 (11:41 pm)

      Yes, there is a bike fee on the WA ferries. However, if you use your ORCA card that fee is waived.

      • Buttercup December 18, 2018 (9:11 am)

        Then let bikers usevthrir orca cards to pays for their bikes like Washington State ferry bikers do.

  • Potter December 17, 2018 (4:50 pm)

    I thought we were trying to encourage alternatives to driving? What problem are they aiming to solve by charging more for bikes?

  • Jort December 17, 2018 (5:00 pm)

    Ludicrous. The Water Taxi should be providing discounts to people with bicycles as a gesture of thanks for reducing our reliance on carbon consumption and private automobile congestion. 

    • Mike December 17, 2018 (6:55 pm)

      Yup, nothing like boats with massive diesel engines to cut that carbon footprint.  Jort, you always amuse me.

      • WSB December 17, 2018 (8:23 pm)


        I’d be interested in a direct comparison of one water taxi trip at X capacity vs. that many cars, but haven’t found it yet. Also note the run from Seacrest to downtown by boat is a shorter distance.

        • chemist December 17, 2018 (9:23 pm)

          10% biodiesel, 90% low sulfur diesel according to your link

        • Mike December 17, 2018 (11:46 pm)

          2017, West Seattle water taxi used 80,730 gallons of fuel, carrying 375,931 passengers.  Vashon run used 123,185 gallons, carrying 224,023 passengers in 2017.  I could not find the emissions reports, King County doesn’t keep records of that.

  • Reed December 17, 2018 (5:08 pm)

    Not sure what is going on these days.  For some reason they take prescription meds away from patients who absolutely need them but they set up injection sites for illegal drug users.  They discourage people from using a zero carbon alternative means of transportation by charging them ridiculous fees to help preserve our planet. Who in the world are these idiots and who elected them?  Insley, you sir are an idiot and so are your minions!! 

  • Peter December 17, 2018 (5:08 pm)

    Seems a lot like they’re trying to discourage people from using the water taxi. Are they trying to manufacture reasons to shut it down? That’s what they’re doing with bus routes they plan to cut (22, 37). 

    • KM December 17, 2018 (10:09 pm)

      Did I miss a bus cut back announcement? I’ll be really bummed to lose the 22, as will a lot of Denny and Sealth students.

      • WSB December 17, 2018 (10:13 pm)

        No, there has NOT been a bus cutback announcement. Sorry, I didn’t see that or would have jumped right in lest someone take it for gospel. The 22 (being the bus in our neighborhood) is certainly a shadow of its former self, but there is no proposal to further cut it, or anything else.

        • KM December 18, 2018 (8:18 am)

          Thanks for clarifying. 22 is my straight shot to the junction. Wish it ran more often!

    • Peter December 18, 2018 (11:17 am)

      Sorry for the lack of clarity in my original comment. No, Metro has not published any plans to further cut/eliminate the 22 and 37 … yet. But there is a pattern of cutting service to low capacity routes, then using the reduced ridership to justify further cuts, then use the further reduced ridership for even further cuts, etc. It a vicious circle that produces declining ridership over a period of years which will eventually lead to eliminating those routes. 

  • James Frank Walker December 17, 2018 (5:16 pm)

    Why would you take your bike on that ferry when it’s faster to ride around?  Good grief! 

    • Eric Torgerson December 17, 2018 (7:55 pm)

      I do it all the time ride my bike around to get downtown the water taxi is over priced waste of tax money get rid of it all together t

    • Ernie December 17, 2018 (8:20 pm)

      What? It’s at least 5 miles from Seacrest Park to Coleman dock, no way it is faster to ride around than to take a 10 min boat ride.

    • Pedal-Head December 17, 2018 (8:23 pm)

      Because there are times when I want to arrive to a particular appointment downtown more fresh/less sweaty than riding around will allow. Then after said appointment I can ride to other destinations and/or home burning fat, not fuel.

  • Mike December 17, 2018 (5:18 pm)

    Sure, but all non cyclist must wait for cyclist to get bicycles on and off the boat before others can.  The hoard is an amazing thing to see.

    • WSB December 17, 2018 (5:35 pm)

      If you haven’t taken the survey yet, boarding/disembarking order is also part of what it asks about.

    • Mel December 17, 2018 (6:33 pm)

      Or have the cyclists wait. Handicapped folks are more likely to not be on bikes.

  • PDiddy December 17, 2018 (6:06 pm)

    They need to put time limits on the parking by the parks. I hate that I can never find a spot when I want to go for a walk or run after work. Living in West Seattle I absolutely hate the water taxi. Let them take the damn bus.

  • Millie December 17, 2018 (6:14 pm)

    James F. Walker has a valid point – why would you want to take your bike on a “foot” ferry when it is quicker to ride around.   

    • Wsea December 17, 2018 (9:10 pm)

      It may be quicker to bike but it depends on who is riding and/or on what (electric bike).  I’m a fast bike rider and could maybe beat the ferry from downtown (10 minute ferry) but my wife, who rides an upright bike, could not. Also, I don’t like her biking SoDo later in the evening so it’s nice to have the ferry.  I’m not a ferry rider but it works for many riders. I don’t understand how a bike could be an added cost. Maybe they should add bike meters to the ferry when they add the car meters on the street. I hate both ideas but it’s funny how one side one sees their benefit and hate against others. Our new leadership maybe. 

  • Mel December 17, 2018 (6:32 pm)

    If you’re really quiet, you can almost hear the Cascade Bicycle Club emailing its entire membership to take the survey. Strongest lobby in Seattle politics.Not that I think there should be a charge, unless bikes start creating a critical mass. Which they don’t, except perhaps when the tourists go back and forth in the summer.

    • Jort December 17, 2018 (8:29 pm)

      I’ve been hearing all sorts of claims about the incredibly outsized, unbelievably gargantuan influence of this superpower lobbying group the “Cascade Bicycle Club.”  I’ll bet if they keep up being the “strongest lobby” in Seattle politics, total spending on cyclist infrastructure might move from 2.4 percent to 2.5 percent of the annual transportation budget!!! Truly a force to be reckoned with! 

      • Mike December 18, 2018 (6:04 am)

        I remember in the late 80s and early 90s the Cascade Bicycle Club stood for something useful.  Unfortunately, like many non profits, they’ve literally become a lobbyist firm.  Influence by mega donors and self-righteous individuals took charge of a once great organization.

    • Duwamesque December 18, 2018 (10:06 am)

      Funny how paranoid the anti-biking crowd can be. Cyclists coming downtown are WS residents and tourists who bring $$ to businesses on the peninsula (without taking up parking). We should encourage, not disincentivize bicycles on this mode of transit, especially with the coming transit crunch.

  • TJ December 17, 2018 (6:41 pm)

    I’m not sure if bicycles should be charged or not, but not charging them shouldn’t be determined by claims of trying to reduce ones carbon footprint or using alternative transportation. Roads for cars are subsidized, but so is the water taxi, bicycle lanes, bus lanes. 

  • dsa December 17, 2018 (7:29 pm)

    Cascade will win this one.

  • steve_winter December 17, 2018 (7:43 pm)

    I vote against charging for bikes, but may be biased as the only time I took a bike on the water taxi was on the way home when the low bridge was out of service.  I wonder where my cheapskate line will cross my pain/laziness threshold and I’ll climb up Highland Park Way – hmmmm

  • Junction Lady December 17, 2018 (8:05 pm)


  • Dewar's December 17, 2018 (8:11 pm)

    WSF charges $1.00, I think the water taxi should charge the same.

  • Silkygoose December 18, 2018 (4:50 am)

    Yes they should!

  • mc December 18, 2018 (8:31 am)

    Mayor Durkan creating a paid service to the water taxi as a solution for the viaduct closure is simply offensive. Do the math. Most working families cannot afford to use the water taxi, even with an Orca Card. West Seattle isn’t getting an real solutions like dedicated bus lanes or any real innovative ideas. This is truly shameful considering this tunnel has been years in the making (mismanagement) and our taxes will pay for all of their mistakes.  All we are left with is a “let them eat cake”  solution that completely disregards the economic reality of most working families. And now additional bike fees. Shameful! 

    • KBear December 18, 2018 (10:44 am)

      MC, what exactly are you blaming Mayor Durkan for? The KING COUNTY Water Taxi is run by the county, the new Metro Ride2 service is also King County, and the Highway 99 Tunnel is a state project. 

  • Vanessa December 18, 2018 (12:19 pm)

    No, no and no!

  • Sam Day December 20, 2018 (2:35 pm)

    No.And they should allow dogs on the outdoor deck, like the big ferries. I take my Golden Retriever to work four days a week, and can only ride the boat when I don’t have her. I always ride on the bow anyway. 

Sorry, comment time is over.