The Ferry Coalition gives voice to needs of the ferry system
The Washington Ferry Coalition brings together ferry riders, community organizations and businesses that recognize how important an efficient and reliable ferry system is to meet transportation needs in Western Washington and serve as an economic asset for the entire state.
Just as every few decades our roads need to be repaved and our bridges replaced, we must also modernize our ferry fleet.
Washington State Ferries’ (WSF) 2040 Long Range Plan supports ferry system reliability, which is critically important to our state’s transportation system, our economy, and the people and communities who depend on the ferry system.
In addition to reliability, the Long Range Plan ensures that the WSF system can handle the increasing demand by tackling issues such as congestion and wait times, and also ensure accessibility for all people and improved connections to other modes of transportation.
Between now and 2040, over half of WSF’s 22-vessel fleet is due for retirement and replacement, including multiple vessels due for retirement over the next few years. Without investment in new vessels, there is growing risk to service reliability that accumulates every year. Even with one-for-one replacement as older vessels retire, the current fleet size does not include sufficient relief vessels to support a reliable system.
The Washington Ferry Coalition supports the state’s decision to build five new Olympic Class ferries as soon as possible. The state transportation system and ferry communities and users need reliable ferries, and ferry construction generates multiple benefits through jobs and economic activity.
Ferries are Vital for Washington
Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world, serving 24 million riders and 10 million vehicles a year. At any moment, more than half the 22-vessel fleet will be loading, unloading, or sailing – moving between 20 terminals in eight counties and along 200 miles of marine highways. WSF forecasts that total ridership is expected to increase by more than 30 percent over the next two decades.
The state ferries not only transport commuters and other residents across Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, but they also transport cargo and tourists and serve as a symbol of the state of Washington, much like Mount Rainier or the Space Needle.