SEATTLE — Washington State ferry passengers are expected to expect delays due to a mechanical problem Friday afternoon that put another vessel out of service. As a result, the Seattle to Bainbridge route is only served by a boat.
The Walla Walla ferry on the Bremerton route was shut down early Friday afternoon when people on board reported “heavy shaking.” A spokesman for Washington State Ferries said crews were working to narrow the fan blade that may have been damaged.
Construction worker Robert Pese was waiting for the ferry to Bremerton and carrying his travel-sized guitar, expecting some disruption.
“I mean, I have options. I can take a fast boat, but my company pays for the big boat… You’ll have to pay out of your own pocket or wait your turn. That’s why I bring my rope – I don’t mind getting stuck too much,” Pese said.
Passengers had to wait on Friday, with some drivers having to wait up to three hours. The popular route from Seattle to Bainbridge has been reduced to just one boat, instead of two.
For passengers, this is the all-too-familiar game of hurry and wait.
“It’s hard to plan ahead. One time, I came home from school and was waiting for the ferry and it took me about three hours to get on the ferry,” said Morgan Dierickx of Tacoma.
“You really don’t know until you get to the station and it’s like ‘oh you’re 30, 45 minutes late and it’s like ‘Wow, I’m stuck here waiting 30, 45 minutes,” said Ashleigh Halligan of Bainbridge Island. add.
The state’s ferry system is the largest fleet in the country with 21 vessels. In April, the Walla Walla, on the same line that was decommissioned, ran aground near Bainbridge Island after the boat’s generator failed – the ship was more than 50 years old.
Frequent ferry riders will have a place to voice complaints on Monday, September 18. Vashon High School Theater will host a working group established by the Vashon Island Chamber as they work to resolve ongoing challenges of the ferry system – several elected officials are expected to participate.