During past traffic crunches, like Alaskan Way Viaduct closures and the Viaduct-to-Tunnel transition, the West Seattle Water Taxi has seen a surge in ridership. The high-rise West Seattle Bridge closure comes at a time when the COVID=19 “stay-home order” has already dramatically reduced ridership, but we were still curious how it’s affected WT usage, so we asked King County.
Spokesperson Torie Rynning provided the newest numbers (PDF). Ridership was actually lower last week than the week before – 167 morning riders total for 3/23-3/27, 196 pm riders, compared to 173/337 for 3/16-3/20. We don’t have the exact numbers for the same period last year but in a Monday post on the Water Taxi blog, Rynning wrote that ridership is overall down 90 percent. That post also addresses the question of whether WT service will be increased because of the bridge closure: For now, it’s clearly not needed, but, “We’ve already assembled a task force that is developing various plans to ramp back up and to add service when ridership demand increases.” In the meantime, the WSWT remains on its five-day-a-week, AM/PM-commute-times-only schedule TFN (in normal times, it would be on the 7-day-a-week spring/summer schedule by now).