Ferries need to support locals

Based on the number of hits on the recent post here about the new 30-minute arrival, I thought you might be interested in this editorial written by Colleen Armstrong and published in the Islands’ Weekly.

I do know the answer to one question she poses. WSF will not create a separate line for locals without a change in the state constitution. Apparently there is a provision that prohibits giving priority access to transportation to residents of an area simply because they live there.

This is not just enforcing a rule that already existed and was ignored. This is a new rule that was adopted by WSF with no input from the FAC or the community.

Your thoughts?

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About sjbrooksyoung

Susan Brooks-Young has been involved in the field of instructional technology since 1979. She was one of the original technology users in the district where she taught and has continued to explore ways in which technology can be used to facilitate student learning. She has worked as computer mentor, technology trainer, and technology curriculum specialist. Prior to establishing her own consulting firm, Susan was a teacher, site administrator, and technology specialist in a county office of education in a career that spanned more than 23 years. Since 1986, she has published articles and software reviews in a variety of education journals. She is also author of a number of books which focus on how school leaders can implement the NETS*A Standards. Susan works with educators internationally, focusing on practical technology-based strategies for personal productivity and effective technology implementation in schools. Susan and her husband live on Lopez Island, WA.

2 thoughts on “Ferries need to support locals

  1. John Brantigan

    > Dear Susan,

    I don’t know if you have received a copy of my email below, but I believe this change would provide a significant improvement to the ferry system. Let me know what you think.

    John Brantigan

    All: > As Carol Anderson pointed out in her recent email, the 45-90 minute required arrival time was never discussed at the Partnership meetings. > > Another thing that was never discussed was Clark Johnson’s suggestion at the very first meeting that our first concern should be to decide whether we want to load 95% of the boat capacity efficiently or if we want to load as many vehicles as possible. By default, we did the latter last summer, and though it worked reasonably well, we ended up loading 95% of capacity inefficiently, as there were generally available unused spaces on most sailings even at busy times. We all agree that the proposed 45-90 minute arrival will be a nightmare. Many reservation holders will be denied boarding due to traffic congestion, toll booth staffing and various other uncontrollable factors. Everyone will be upset, and the summer will be filled with angry confrontations between travelers and WSF staff. I believe we should load 95% of the boats efficiently. > The real problem is the difficulty of staging reservation and stand-by vehicles. For an all-stops sailing, there are four reservation lines and four standby lines. How is it even possible to keep track of who arrived first and who has the right to board the boat? > > I suggest changing drive-up “standby” to drive-up “reservation.” WSF should decide how many drive-up slots are available. If the number is 15, sell a ticket to the first 15 drive-ups and put them in the regular reservation line. If you over-sell the boat by the number of expected no-shows (minus the expected number of medicals), everyone will arrive at the ticket booth earlier. The last to arrive may be denied boarding and will be first for the next sailing. With drive-up reservations, anyone arriving anytime before the ramp goes up will still have a chance to board the boat with no conflict about who has the right to board. Only the last few tardy drivers will have the usual uncertainty about making the sailing. If WSF overbooked by half the expected number of no-shows, there would (almost) always be a few extra vehicle spaces available. There are two objections to this approach: 1). we possibly deny boarding to people with reservations, but the frequency will be far less than with the proposed 30-minute cutoff time. 2). We waste unused vehicle space during busy times, but that was typical of last summer when we were trying to load to capacity. > > All of the complaints I received last summer on Shaw were from perceived unfair treatment of drive-up customers and their anguished uncertainty about getting on the boats. At the Partnership meetings, a loud and clear concern from county residents was the uncertainty of last-minute urgent personal travel on busy travel days. > > WSF is addressing perceived problems from last summer and creating a perceived nightmare for this coming summer. So I ask, why don’t we do something that works? > > > Regards, > > John Brantigan >

  2. mikemcconnachie

    We believe the Growth Management Act is to blame. The process is not ‘organic’ and doesn’t address the needs of real people. Workforce housing and mobility for vehicles are primary needs in a thriving tourism ferry-served rural area – yet WSF continues to be heeding the call for everyone to abandon their vehicles and ride buses or trains or bikes or possibly yaks. (Abandon their cars? Say what? In Puget Sound?)

    Ferries are Marine Highways, and must move vehicles safely, efficiently and timely. Mobility is actually a mandated government function.

    The reservation system is unfair, and is a failure. So is the GMA.


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