West Seattle is unique in the Washington State Ferries system as home to the city’s only WSF dock in a residential area (Fauntleroy). So you might be interested in the 2018 ridership report just released:
Thirty-four times the population of the city of Seattle â€“ thatâ€™s how many people Washington State Ferries carried in 2018.
Annual ridership on the nationâ€™s largest ferry system increased by more than 225,000 last year to nearly 25 million, its highest level since 2002.
â€śOur ridership is up 10 percent from five years ago and itâ€™s forecast to grow another 30 percent to all-time highs over the next 20 years,â€ť said WSF Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton. â€śIn order to support this projected demand with reliable service, our recently released 2040 Long Range Plan calls for 16 new vessels by 2040.â€ť
The largest jump in 2018 came on the Southworth/Vashon route, where ridership was up 8.8 percent, or a gain of nearly 17,000 customers over 2017. This is the third year in a row that the biggest percentage increase has been on a route serving Southworth, as people move to more affordable housing in South Kitsap County.
WSF customers took more than 161,000 trips aboard state ferries last year, travelling nearly 1 million miles â€“ enough to circumnavigate the earth 36 times.
2018 route-by-route ridership highlights
Â· System total: Customers up 0.9 percent from 2017 to 24.7 million, vehicles up 1.1 percent to 10.8 million.
Â· Seattle/Bainbridge Island and Bremerton: While it remains WSFâ€™s flagship terminal servicing the most customers throughout the system, there was a year-to-year drop of nearly 60,000 total riders (0.6 percent) passing through Colman Dock. Vehicles down 2.3 percent on Bainbridge Island route, up 3 percent for Bremerton.
Â· Edmonds/Kingston: Second highest total ridership with customers up 2.2 percent. Biggest year-to-year increase in total vehicles, going up nearly 40,000 (1.8 percent).
Â· Mukilteo/Clinton: Welcomed systemâ€™s fourth Olympic class ferry, Suquamish, to the route in the fall. Busiest route for drivers with vehicles up 1.5 percent and customers up 1.7 percent.
Â· Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth: Customers up 1.4 percent and vehicles up 1.5 percent, led by the Southworth/Vashon segment, which had the largest year-to-year percentage growth with customers up 8.8 percent and vehicles up 6.8 percent.
Â· Anacortes/San Juan Islands: All-time record ridership with customers up 1.4 percent and vehicles up 1.5 percent.
Â· Point Defiance/Tahlequah: Customers up 2.9 percent and vehicles up 3.7 percent. Ridership up more than 250,000 from low point in 2008.
Â· Port Townsend/Coupeville: Customers up 4 percent and vehicles up 3.8 percent. Ten-year ridership increase of more than 350,000.
Â· Anacortes/Sidney, British Columbia: Slight drop due to a two-week suspension of the route due to vessel breakdowns with customers down 0.7 percent and vehicles down 1.8 percent.
Â· Route-by-route ridership numbers: Available on the second page of WSFâ€™s Fact Sheet.
Â· Additional highlights: See more in WSFâ€™s 2018 Year in Review.