Officials with Washington State Ferries said they will keep running boats on reduced sailing schedules until further notice.
WSF cut back on the number of sailings after the start of the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year. State transportation officials said earlier this week that sailing schedules will be changed in phases based on Washington’s COVID-19 recovery and several other factors.
WSF’s current COVID Response Service Plan will be based on four metrics:
• Ridership: Recent system-wide numbers are still down more than 60 percent compared to this time last year;
• Crew availability: More than 150 crew members are either at higher risk for severe illness or unavailable due to the pandemic;
• Vessel availability: There is a lack of boats available due to the maintenance shutdown earlier this year, combined with a continued reduction of U.S. Coast Guard inspections; and
• Funding: The state Department of Transportation is losing millions in revenue from the gas tax, state ferry fare-box recovery, and other revenue streams.
“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.
“Our priority, as always, is to provide service based on the safety of our passengers and crews,” she added.
Vehicle reservations for June 21 through Sept. 26 on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route will be available online in the next week.