Local Information

Plan for big crowds, adjusted ferry schedules on some routes this Labor Day weekend

Thursday, August 31, 2017 - 09:12

Ian Sterling, WSF communications, 206-714-1556

More than 400,000 people to sail on WSF over the next five days

SEATTLE – More than 400,000 people are projected to ride a ferry over the next five days. That’s equal to six sellout crowds at CenturyLink Field for a Seahawks game – and part of the reason passengers should allow for extra travel time during the Labor Day weekend.

That estimate comes in the midst of some of the highest ridership numbers in more than a decade, despite several disruptions this summer for vessel repairs. With the Hyak, Salish and Samish currently out of service, the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route is on a reduced two-boat schedule to balance service needs across the system.

Washington State Ferries expects many holiday weekend passengers to sail westbound Thursday, Aug. 31, and Friday, Sept. 1, and eastbound Monday, Sept. 4, as people return from their Labor Day getaways. There will be additional service Monday on most routes, but passengers should still expect crowds and lines during peak travel times.

“What better way to close out the summer than a scenic ride on a cultural Northwest icon,” said WSF Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton. “But with the added traffic and adjusted schedule on some routes, we encourage all passengers to pack some patience this holiday weekend and prepare for longer wait times.”

To reduce or eliminate wait times, customers may consider walking on the ferry. Passenger capacity is far greater than vehicle capacity on all WSF ferries.

Travel tips

Drivers can also plan ahead for increased congestion on highways as they make their way to the ferry terminals with real-time traffic information on the WSDOT traffic app for their mobile device.

Summer 2017 ridership highlights

  • WSF carried nearly 5.5 million people from late June to late August.
    • More than 25 percent of all passengers took the Seattle/Bainbridge Island route, which recorded 1.4 million customers.
    • The second busiest route was Edmonds/Kingston with about 900,000 people.
  • Ridership is up 40,660 passengers from the same time period in 2016.
  • Summer is historically the most popular travel time on ferries, carrying about 50 percent more passengers compared to winter season.

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries 24 million people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world.

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