Just in from Washington State Ferries:
Until further notice, all state ferries will operate on their current reduced schedules with the option for phased service changes based on the COVID-19 recovery and several other factors.
Any changes in service to Washington State Ferries’ current COVID Response Service Plan will be based on four metrics, all of which will be considered before any modifications are made on any route:
· Ridership – Recent system-wide numbers remain down more than 60% compared to this time last year.
· Crew availability – More than 150 crewmembers are either people who are at higher risk for severe illness or unavailable due to the pandemic.
· Vessel availability – There is a lack of boats available for service due to the maintenance shutdown earlier this year, combined with a continued reduction of U.S. Coast Guard inspection capacity.
· Funding – Washington State Department of Transportation is currently losing millions in revenue from the gas tax, state ferry farebox recovery, etc.
“Given the constraints associated with our four pillars of service, we unfortunately cannot increase our number of sailings based on ridership alone,” said Amy Scarton, head of WSF. “As we enter what is normally our peak season, our priority as always is to provide service based on the safety of our passengers and crews.”