West Seattle, Washington
Though the West Seattle Water Taxi was originally scheduled to be out of service tomorrow for the Veterans Day observation, Metro has added late afternoon and evening runs so Sounders FC fans can get to and from the playoff match vs. Dallas. The schedule can be found here – it starts with a 4:30 pm trip from West Seattle, and ends with a 10:45!pm trip from downtown. No shuttle bus, though, so you have to find another way to and from Seacrest. And Metro is still planning to keep the Water Taxi (and shuttles) entirely out of service on Saturday.
The West Seattle Water Taxi‘s 2 pm run was delayed a bit today, and the explanatory alert was terse: “Crew of the Doc Maynard rescuing a barge that was adrift along the Seattle waterfront.” We asked Metro spokesperson Al Sanders for more info, and here’s what we received:
Preliminary details from MV Doc Maynard Capt. Dan Krehbiel:
The Doc Maynard, a King County Water Taxi, was en route to Pier 50 from Seacrest Dock at approximately 1 p.m. when the crew spotted a fully loaded container barge dangerously adrift from Pier 18 near Harbor Island, headed across Elliott Bay.
When the Water Taxi crew didn’t spot a tug next to the barge, they moved to intercept the vessel, which was moving toward the vicinity of the Great Wheel and the Seattle Aquarium, and attempted to push the barge away from the heart of the waterfront.
Captain Krehbiel was able to use the Doc Maynard’s bow to push and direct the barge north, where it eventually landed in the vicinity of Pier 66. Tugs arrived to pin the ship to the terminal until the barge owner could arrange transport.
The Doc Maynard did not sustain any damage to the bow, which steered the wayward barge away from the waterfront. Water taxi service was delayed by approximately 15 minutes as a result of this incident.
A Twitter/X user got it on video – watch here. The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the barge mishap.
ADDED 6:49 PM: Kevin Freitas shares this time lapse from one of his cameras on this side of the bay:
They did it for Taylor Swift … for Beyoncé … and now they’re doing it for Coldplay: Adding later West Seattle Water Taxi trips so people going to the sold-out concert can get back here by water. From Metro‘s announcement for the added trips tomorrow (Wednesday, September 20th):
Heading home to West Seattle after the concert? The King County Water Taxi is scheduled for six trips from Pier 50 at starting at 7:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 11:30 p.m. and 12:15 a.m.)
The water taxi will have five trips from West Seattle starting at 8 p.m. (8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m., 11:00 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.)
If you’d rather ride the bus, Metro says they’ll add trips on three RapidRide lines, including C and H, which serve West Seattle.
As we first reported on September 3rd, Metro plans to continue seven-days-a-week West Seattle Water Taxi service through the fall and winter again this year (and beyond). County Executive Dow Constantine officially announced it today. One key point in the announcement: No Water Taxi service the weekend of October 14-15, so maintenance can be done to get ready for the winter season.
The water taxi is scheduled for six trips from Pier 50 at starting at 7:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 11:30 p.m. and 12:15 a.m.) The water taxi will also have five trips from West Seattle starting at 8 p.m. (8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.)
Again, that’s tomorrow night (Thursday, September 14th). Metro also says it’ll add “a handful of trips” on unspecified bus routes “to help meet rider demand after the concert.”
With Metro making its fall “service change” adjustments to bus routes this weekend, you might be wondering about the West Seattle Water Taxi. Its summer schedule, with late-night runs on Fridays and Saturdays, is planned to last six more weeks, until October 14. Before the pandemic and West Seattle Bridge closure brought big changes, the Water Taxi downshifted in fall/winter to running five days a week, commute times only. But the past two years, Metro has kept the foot ferry running all day, seven days a week, year-round. We asked Metro repeatedly whether that would continue this year; the answer was that they didn’t know yet. So with fall approaching and no announcement yet, we asked County Councilmember Joe McDermott if the council had perhaps been briefed on a plan. In fact, he told us, Metro notified the County Council in mid-June that it would continue all-day, every-day service again this year. The memo sent to councilmembers noted that not only does that make for a service on which customers can rely, but a survey of Marine Division staff showed it’s popular with them too “as they will no longer be laid off during the winter months (allowing) Metro to be more competitive for workforce in the challenging marine industry.” The memo also noted that ridership last winter, after the West Seattle Bridge reopened, was even higher than the previous winter, when it was still closed. And the memo included one more point – that “the extended service bridges an important gap in our current bus service, due to bus operator workforce shortages.”
Our inbox suggests the citywide excitement over this weekend’s sold-out Taylor Swift concerts at Lumen Field is more intense than what preceded last week’s All-Star Game. So, two notes:
EXTRA WATER TAXI AND RAPIDRIDE RUNS: Transit services are adding more runs for Saturday and Sunday, including Metro buses and the West Seattle Water Taxi. The WT will add 11:45 pm and 12:15 am runs from Pier 50 downtown both nights, and Metro has a special shuttle that will take concertgoers to the dock, as well as (updated) added C and H Line service.
YOUNGSTOWN COFFEE: The coffee crew at 6030 California SW is stoked. Here’s their announcement:
In celebration of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour coming to Seattle this weekend, Youngstown will be running a special Taylor’s Version menu and giveaway! Our menu and contest is running now through July 23rd (Taylor’s final night in Seattle) and a winner will be chosen that evening.
Prizes include Speak Now tay’s version CD, Youngstown gift card for $25, Youngstown t-shirt, and sticker. To enter, visit our shop and purchase any drink off of our Diva Summer or Taylor’s Version menus and get one entry form.
Two updates on changes ahead for the West Seattle Water Taxi:
FOURTH OF JULY: The West Seattle route will be on a Sunday schedule for the holiday next Tuesday.
The West Seattle Water Taxi will have extended service during the ASG festivities. They already have the late service on Friday and Saturday and it will sail until 11 pm on Sun 7/9, Mon 7/10 and Tues 7/11 to accommodate fans going to Play Ball Park at Lumen Field, and the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park.
Some holidays, the West Seattle Water Taxi is out of service. But next Monday, on Memorial Day, Metro says the foot ferry will be running between Seacrest and downtown (though the Vashon Island Water Taxi will NOT run that day). It will be on a Sunday schedule that day – you can see the times here. (Metro buses will be on Sunday schedules that day, too.)
Out walking in the Seacrest/Don Armeni area tonight, we noticed this crowd aboard the Water Taxi for an evening run to downtown. This is the second weekend of the year that the WT is on its full spring/summer schedule, including Friday and Saturday nights. Last scheduled run of the night is 11 pm from West Seattle to downtown.
As of this week, the West Seattle Water Taxi is on its spring/summer schedule. Since it continued seven-days-a-week service through the fall and winter, the only change is that it’s running Friday and Saturday nights too. In pre-pandemic times, the foot ferry cut back to weekdays only in the cooler months; seven-day service was facilitated by county funding this year, but city funding in 2021-2022, during the West Seattle Bridge closure. So we asked Metro today what the plan is for next fall/winter, since the current schedule is posted as ending on Friday, October 13th. Short answer: They don’t know yet. Long answer, from spokesperson Al Sanders: “Metro is currently evaluating the ridership from this winter and comparing it to last year when the bridge was closed. Once we have reviewed this information, we will be able to better determine what next winter’s Water Taxi schedule will be.”
The West Seattle route of the King County Water Taxi starts its spring/summer schedule later this month. Since it’s been running seven days a week all year, the schedule difference will be the addition of Friday and Saturday night runs, starting April 21st, running through 10:45 pm departures from downtown and 11 pm departures from West Seattle. To get ready for that, the West Seattle Water Taxi will be out of service the previous weekend, April 15-16. Metro – which operates the Water Taxi – says that will be necessary “to conduct training and maintenance.” The spring/summer schedule will continue through October 13th. (As for whether it’ll go to a weekday-only schedule after that – we’re checking.)
After West Seattle Water Taxi cancellations because of weather this morning, as noted in our traffic/transit roundup, Metro resumed service late this morning and tried continuing it this pm, but just announced that today’s remaining runs are canceled. “Sustained high winds have created unsafe conditions at Seacrest dock,” Metro says. The email version of the alert adds:
The current marine weather forecast does not indicate any improvements by tomorrow morning. We will continue to monitor the weather and will send additional updates as more information becomes available.
During this time, Water Taxi shuttle routes 773 and 775 will continue to operate as usual in West Seattle.
As promised, SDOT has gone public before week’s end with details of how you can ride the West Seattle Water Taxi and/or Metro buses fare-free for the duration of the low-bridge closure. As SDOT reps told West Seattle Bike Connections on Tuesday, the plan uses the Transit GO app, so if you’re interested, you have to download that if you don’t have it already. Here’s what happens from there, as explained by SDOT:
-Click on “Rewards” and enter code LOWBRIDGE23 to get 1,500 points for your next ride. Please note: there may be a slight delay in these points appearing.
-Tap “Redeem” and then select the free ride of your choice (King County Metro bus or West Seattle Water Taxi).
-Go to “View Ticket” and then confirm your order (required).
-Then, activate your ticket and show it to your transit operator.
-Once your ticket has been used, you’ll automatically be rewarded with another 1,500 points for your next ride. You’ll continue to earn free tickets while this rewards program is in effect.
As for how long that’ll be – how long the low-bridge closure will last – no new info on that. Meantime (as also noted on Tuesday), the funding for the bus/Water Taxi rides is coming from the voter-approved Seattle Transit Measure, a .15% sales tax (15 cents on a $100 purchase).
Saturday, for New Year’s Eve, many transit services around the region will be fare-free, including the West Seattle Water Taxi. The annual announcement just arrived – here are the Seattle/King County highlights:
*King County Metro: Buses will operate on their regular Saturday schedule and be fare-free from 3 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, through 3 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1. Other Metro services operating fare-free include DART, Via to Transit, Ride Pingo to Transit, Community Van, and Access service. Please note Via to Transit will only operate until 2 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1.
*King County Water Taxi: The water taxi will operate fare-free on Dec. 31 but will be out of service on Jan. 1. and Jan. 2.
*Sound Transit: Link light rail and Sound Transit Express buses are fare-free from 4 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, to 2 a.m. Sunday., Jan. 1. Sound Transit will operate extended Link light rail service on New Year’s Eve, with 15-minute, late-night service. The last southbound trip will leave Northgate Station at 1:58 a.m. The last northbound train will leave Angle Lake Station at 1:41 a.m. For more information go to the Sound Transit website.
*Seattle Streetcar: Both streetcar lines will operate Saturday service hours. The South Lake Union Streetcar will operate on New Year’s Eve until 12:30 a.m. to accommodate fireworks viewing downtown.
Note that the Water Taxi will run its regular Saturday schedule – no late-night sailings in fall/winter. And note that exceptions to the fare-free plan include the Seattle Monorail, which the announcement says “will collect regular fares and is scheduled to operate from Westlake to the Seattle Center until 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. After the evening’s events at Seattle Center, service to Westlake will run from 12:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.”
We’re adding this info to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, where we’re also building a list of local NYE/NYD events – not too late to add one – email@example.com – thank you!
Metro says the Water Taxi will return to normal service on both routes tomorrow. Just received:
Both the West Seattle and Vashon Island routes of the King County Water Taxi will resume their normal full sailing schedules tomorrow, Friday, December 16.
Last night, damage to one of the ships’ propellers left the division to operate both routes with one vessel today, which led to reduced service on both routes. Thanks to today’s crew, which spent the full day taking the Doc Maynard to Port Angeles shipyard and back, and thanks to the shipyard, which was able to get the vessel into dry dock on short notice and change propellers, each route will have a vessel to operate full service.
Metro‘s not only down buses – now it’s down another boat – Water Taxi service has lost a boat to propeller damage, again. The M/V Doc Maynard, recently repaired after damage last month, is out of service again, which led to one round-trip cancellation on each WT route this evening, and will bring more cuts tomorrow, as just announced:
The following trips from Downtown Seattle to West Seattle are canceled: in the morning – the 6:30 a.m., 7:05 a.m. – and in the evening, the 5:25 p.m. and 6:05 p.m.
The following trips from West Seattle to Downtown Seattle are canceled: in the morning 6:50 a.m. and 7:25 a.m., and in the evening 5:45 p.m. and 6:25 p.m.
Other scheduled trips will operate using one vessel serving both the West Seattle and Vashon routes. Visit our online schedules for the full West Seattle route sailing schedule. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.
Metro spokesperson Elaine Porterfield tells us M/V Sally Fox is still in a shipyard – after the first round of propeller damage to it and Doc Maynard – and unavailable, so that’s why they are handling both routes with one boat,
In case you missed our mention earlier – Metro says both Water Taxi routes, West Seattle and Vashon, are returning to full service this afternoon. Two of the three boats had to be taken out of service Monday for repairs to propeller damage, but Metro says the work is complete on M/V Doc Maynard so it’s back in service, and along with M/V Spirit of Kingston, that means full service on both runs. The regular Vashon boat, M/V Sally Fox, is still awaiting repairs. We asked specifics regarding the “submerged debris” on which the propeller damage was blamed; Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer replied, “Per our water taxi team, we typically encounter debris between Duwamish Head and Alki Point. During high tides in the winter, logs get washed into our path. Large debris can be found everywhere we operate, washing off the shores of Vashon, Downtown Seattle and from the rivers.”
Two more West Seattle Water Taxi runs have been canceled today in addition to what was already announced as a result of Metro being down to one boat for both routes. From the most-recent alert: “The 11:30 a.m. departure from Pier 50 in Downtown Seattle and the noon departure from West Seattle have been canceled today to support fueling operations. Service resumes with the 12:30 p.m. departure from Pier 50 and the 1:00 p.m. departure from West Seattle.” The Water Taxi is running with the smaller backup boat Spirit of Kingston handling both West Seattle and Vashon Island while the larger regular boats, Doc Maynard and Sally Fox, are out for propeller repairs blamed on “submerged debris.”
11:04 AM: Back on Tuesday, Metro announced M/V Doc Maynard had gone out of service on the West Seattle Water Taxi route because of propeller damage. Now it’s happened to at least one other boat and that means “temporarily reduced” WT service for both West Seattle and Vashon. Here’s the update we received a short time ago:
Service on the King County Water Taxi West Seattle and Vashon routes will be temporarily reduced beginning Monday, Nov. 28, due to mechanical damage to our boats’ propellers caused by submerged debris in the water. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience. The repairs may take several days.
As soon as a shipyard has the availability to perform repairs, we will return to regular service. We will share schedule updates as the boats are repaired.
West Seattle service will be reduced by two runs in the morning and evening. Midday service will continue to operate to and from West Seattle. One run will operate in the morning and evening to and from Vashon.
We have a followup question out to ask which other boats are going into repairs and which will be left to run the reduced schedule.
12:45 PM: Metro says the damaged boats are the two main vessels – Doc Maynard and Sally Fox. The Spirit of Kingston is handling WT service right now and will continue while the other two get repaired.
Just in from Metro, two problems affecting the West Seattle Water Taxi route.
First – M/V Doc Maynard is out of service until further notice because of propeller damage. Metro says M/V Spirit of Kingston will fill in as needed.
Second – a shortage of crew is canceling some runs tonight:
Lack of crew will force the reduction of service for tonight’s evening commute
These runs have been canceled for tonight
*The 5:35 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. sailings from downtown to West Seattle
*The 5:45 p.m. and 6:25 p.m. sailings from West Seattle to downtown
(The Vashon route has some cancellations too.)
We asked King County Metro this morning if they might change their mind about this weekend’s planned Water Taxi service outage, given the additional big sporting event(s). First reply was that nothing had changed, but now this is just in:
We want to support fans heading to this weekend’s baseball, football and hockey games, so the West Seattle Water Taxi will operate its normal 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday schedules on Oct. 15-16!
The picturesque and congestion-free trip between West Seattle and downtown Seattle takes as little as 10 minutes.
Free route 773 and 775 water taxi shuttles in West Seattle will also operate, carrying riders to and from Seacrest Dock connecting with all Water Taxi arrivals and departures until 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Evening Metro bus service between downtown Seattle and West Seattle is available on RapidRide C Line, and routes 120 and 125.
Schedules and fare information are online at the Water Taxi webpage. Fares for youth age 18 and under are free.
With the Seattle Mariners playoff schedule in hand, Metro’s Marine Division worked the past several days to identify available captains and crew to provide the service this weekend. Previously planned maintenance and a temporary suspension of service will be rescheduled at a later date.
1:43 PM: One of the questions remaining unanswered after the West Seattle Bridge reopening was whether the West Seattle Water Taxi would go back to limited service this fall/winter. In pre-pandemic times, the standard fall/winter plan was to reduce service to am/pm commute weekday service only, but last year the 7-day-a-week, all-day service was maintained through the chillier seasons. We asked recently what the plan was for this year and the answer was that it was still being finalized. Now, the announcement is just in:
On Monday, Oct. 17, the West Seattle Water Taxi will continue providing midday and weekend sailings between downtown Seattle’s Pier 50 and Seacrest Dock in West Seattle.
The seven-day-a-week service will run from approximately 6 a.m. weekdays (8:30 a.m. weekends) to 7 p.m. Weekday sailings leaving the dock every 35 minutes during peak commute hours and every hour during the midday, and on weekends. There will be no Friday or Saturday sailings after 7 p.m. …
During commute hours, riders can take the free Metro shuttles to and from the Water Taxi landing at Seacrest Park. Route 773 serves the West Seattle Junction. Route 775 serves the Admiral District and Alki. …
During the repair of the West Seattle High Bridge, the Water Taxi provided a choice for those not wanting to drive to and from West Seattle. There was enough ridership during the winter season that Metro has chosen to maintain service for riders who want to continue using the Water Taxi instead of returning to their vehicles with the reopening of the High Bridge. This pilot program for this fall and winter, which will also provide more consistent scheduling for Water Taxi crews, will be used to evaluate potential ongoing year-round service.
In preparation for the start of the winter sailing schedule, Water Taxi staff will be conducting vessel maintenance on Oct. 15-16, so West Seattle service will be canceled for that weekend.
Last year, the extra service was maintained with extra funding from the city; we’re checking on whether that’s how they’re covering the cost this year, as the announcement did not say.
3:16 PM: Metro spokesperson Al Sanders says this time it’s all Metro (county) funding.