WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Here’s how it’s affecting the Water Taxi

(WSB photo from last month, MV Doc Maynard at Seacrest)

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).

8 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BRIDGE CLOSURE: Here's how it's affecting the Water Taxi"

  • Tanya April 1, 2020 (5:41 pm)

    How will riders be able to practice social distancing on a packed foot ferry SDOT?  Fix our bridge.  Urgent. 

    • SK April 1, 2020 (8:29 pm)


    • Torie April 2, 2020 (10:37 am)

      Hi there, just to clarify – those totals are for all sailings combined on a given day, not individual sailings. There is plenty of space on each sailing for social distancing. 

  • Amy April 1, 2020 (11:52 pm)

    What are the odds that the Fauntleroy ferry to Vashon could add runs downtown for car passage into the city? 

    • Matt P April 2, 2020 (12:24 am)

      Why doesn’t the Vashon ferry bypass West Seattle altogether?  Is the ferry that much slower than driving to downtown from the Fauntleroy stop?  Probably now with the bridge down.

      • LG April 2, 2020 (8:30 am)

        Not everyone who rides the ferry heads downtown. Many work in other areas. 

  • Chris K April 2, 2020 (8:55 am)

    If anything good comes out of the bridge closure, I think it will be that more West Seattleites will realize that they do not need to be so dependent on their automobiles.

  • Skye April 16, 2020 (9:11 am)

    It’s time! We have always been more like an island. We have always been a beach town, the burbs of downtown Seattle. No longer should we be plummeted with bus like racing lanes through our streets. It’s time for Seattle to invest in West Seattle as a valued community. We are not along the I-5 coordinor or attached like other other Seattle neighborhoods. Highway 99 was turned into a toll like bridge.  Seattle leaders took away our local every 15 minute busses thru West Seattle a decade ago. I specifically moved across from one so I could not have a car. Seattle shut it down & moved its thrust to Rapid Ride, geared for am commuters, not a non car daily living lifestyle.  Most of us don’t live on California Avenue & anything close to it has become a parking lot, i.e. never was a Park & Ride constructed (could have been built off West Marginal Way). We need a full an, a do over. Build the Park & Ride, put bus routes back in action thru West Seattle, keep current Rapid Ride coming from the Alaska Junction, West Marginal Way Park & Ride, have fluent buses to water taxi, beef up fully on water taxi & add another from Duwamish River and add a rail service from West Seattle. NYC Ferry is a network of ferry routes in New York City operated by Hornblower Cruises. As of August 2018, there are six routes connecting 21 ferry piers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. NYC Ferry has a total of 28 vessels, providing half-hourly to hourly service on each of the routes.

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