One of the reasons this group initially formed in fall of 2010 was out of concern about the proposed vehicle reservation system. At the time, the WSF website had a timeline posted that indicated a plan to move forward with implementation of the reservation system in the San Juan Islands in summer 2011. Obviously, that hasn’t happened.
In speaking with some members of our Ferry Advisory Committee, we were assured that WSF would not move forward with the reservation system at this time due to the fiscal crisis and the cost of the proposed system. Last winter, members of the Ferry Caucus wrote a letter to WSF saying that they did not support moving forward with the reservation system.
It was surprising then to read the following update on the reservation system in David Moseley’s weekly update:
Vehicle reservations system partnership meeting
I met with the Port Townsend/Coupeville Partnership on Thursday evening to provide a status update on vehicle reservations and to get initial feedback on proposed improvements. I really appreciate the commitment of the partnership members and I greatly value their feedback. For handouts from this meeting and more information on planning for vehicle reservations, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Ferries/Planning/VehicleReservations.htm.
According to the website, there is a plan to convene a San Juan Islands customer group to discuss implementation schedule and options beginning in Summer 2012.
This system will cost millions of dollars. At a time when we have less service than we had when the steel-class ferries were operational, when we have a critical need for new boats, and when fares are increasing and ridership falling, we don’t understand why WSF is moving forward with vehicle reservations.
Perhaps this question needs to be posed during the upcoming WSF community meeting in early December that will be held in Friday Harbor.