Saturday, August 10, 2019


Islanders, in our mini paradise, are up in arms, voicing their concerns toward the Washington State ferry system.  As long as I have lived here, there have been complaints, but minor inconveniences have grown to the ridiculous. Unlike the islands to the south of us, we do not have bridges to get us home.  This summer we have not been able to get reservations  (part of the nightmare) weeks in advance, so we get to the ferry line 2-3 hours in advance of sailing and pray we get on.

Two weeks ago I was hospitalized (not planned!)  and on Thursday of this week went to the doctor for the follow up.  So with a car full of groceries & gas, we sat in a long line almost 2 hours early, with the assurance we would not even get on the last ferry at 9 PM.  I walked on, while the driver stayed with the car for over 5 hours.

Our local businesses  and government are pushing for tourism and ferry travelers have blossomed, but those of us who live here should be able to reach our homes.

The idiots (and believe me I am being polite) who run the system in Olympia do not understand our plight this far north. They send us “replacement” crews in the heat of summer who do not know how to load our ferries which sometimes go to all four islands (down south they go from A to B and back to A).

Periodically, the big shots from down south, send representatives to talk to islanders but our pleas for some understanding go on deaf ears! This has caused many residents to lose trust in the current ferry system and believe that WSF is failing to respond to criticism. Some residents have taken to social media to voice their concerns. Others write letters to our legislators (again deaf ears). I have written letters myself (and I am not a letter writer), giving some concrete steps which I feel could help.  The system claims to be “running in the red”, yet we could charge tourists a bit more, charge bicyclers (at present free on the interisland ferry), even $5.00, as well as people who walk on (islanders would be given free passes).

As far as I can see the best solution (other than privatizing the system) is to "divorce" ourselves from our southern relatives and have a ferry system that is our own.

In spite of our efforts, it seems like whatever we do is a meaningless exercise, and the people in charge are not actually interested in making changes.

We have a new ferry, to the tune of $126 million, and yet it was in repair 3 months after it sailed. Again this summer it has been out of service AND JUST THIS MORNING BROKE DOWN AGAIN! 

From what I understand, all WA state ferries have to be made in the state, so there is no competition.  We need to look to other countries, like in Scandinavia, who produce better functioning vessels.

Residents and even ferry workers up here are UPSET with their experience when commuting. I am afraid we could have mutiny soon if something is not done to remedy our dire situation!

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