Editor’s Column: The ferry system survey for Keystone

Readers will be happy to know that I was secretly slipped the Keystone to Port Townsend version of the Washington State Transportation Commission 2008 Ferry Customer Survey, which is now in progress continuing through late March. Researchers ask ferry riders questions and report back to state authorities who laugh uproariously at the answers before having them shredded and recycled into another survey.

Typically, only ferry riders see the survey, but thanks to my purloined letter you can be prepared ahead of time if confronted by a researcher, who should not be confused with a homeless person. The homeless person is much less likely to harass you. As I said, these questions are tailored for the lucky person who depends on the Keystone ferry.

1. Check one: Is it more annoying to have the ferry delayed by the tides, the currents, the storms, or the shortage of ferries that don’t leak?

2. Since Keystone is now served by one 55-car ferry, where do you plan to spend the night, from May through September, while awaiting your turn on board?

3. Would you mind holding a sign saying “End of the Line,” while waiting for the ferry at the Deception Pass bridge?

4. Do you miss the teensy little leaks in the Steel Electric ferries when enormous waves are crashing over the bow of the tiny Steilacoom II ferry?

5. Does it bother you when we play the theme from “Titanic” on your trips across Admiralty Inlet?

6. Chances are slim, approximately 49 percent, that the Steilacoom II will actually roll over one day, so do you take comfort in knowing the odds are with you?

7. Since the Steel Electrics were pulled from service because they were old and dangerous, can you tell us why we also didn’t shut down the 520 floating bridge and the Alaskan Way viaduct?

8. You can’t? Don’t you know how many legislators and voters use those routes?

9. Are you proud to know you were singled out to show off the decisive new leadership in place in the Department of Transportation?

10. Check the snacks you would you prefer in the Steilacoom II vending machine: Submarine sandwich, apple turnover, upsidedown cake, jelly roll, saltwater taffy, Lifesavers.

11. Did you know that your visionary transportation leaders are planning to replace the old, antiquated Deception Pass bridge as soon as it collapses? Probably with the old, antiquated, passenger-only ferry we can’t sell on eBay.

12. If the Steilacoom II goes down, either literally or figuratively, how long are you willing to wait for the next ferry (check one): Two years, five years, till the Sherman Dairy cows come home.

13. If all else fails, would you mind windsurfing across Admiralty Inlet? We could build boards in Washington in only a few years for less than $2 million each, probably.

14. Let’s face it, there’s no good reason to go to Port Townsend, so why don’t you quit whining and just pay your taxes?

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