Letters to the Editor

Transportation: Better ferry ideas needed

Washington State Ferry service has announced plans to reduce the Clinton dock to two lanes this fall, in order to continue construction work. They have expressed concerns about ferry lines and loading times for boats.

If you’ve ever sat up the hill from a loaded dock, you know the dock (where people have already paid) loads much faster than the lines uphill from the traffic lights. The ferry service has indicated a willingness to listen to possible solutions to this brewing dilemma, and I’d like to suggest that ferry riders join in and e-mail the ferry service with possible options. I’d like to offer a couple notions here.

If ferry workers were to work their way up the hill, going from car to car to collect fares in advance of a sailing, then when the ferry is ready to be loaded, loading will take much less time than waiting until each car reaches the toll booths. The ferry workers would have to leave the comfort of the booths and walk a bit, but the ferry loading time will probably be less than half of what it would be without such an advance fare collection. The ferry workers could take note of the last paying cars in line by license plate, so tracking who has paid would be simple.

This system would likely avoid a lot of delays in sailing. An alternative would be to situate a temporary booth further up the hill and place three or four signs in construction orange warning people to stop at the booth before heading to the dock.

If you agree, or if you have any alternative ideas of your own, please go to the state ferry service Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov

/ferries and e-mail your suggestion(s). If enough people write them, the ferry service might adopt a helpful solution and we might all avoid some nastier lines and delays.

Tom Pacher


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