Check schedules and expect waits for state ferries over Labor Day weekend

Thursday, September 03, 2020
Check schedules and expect waits for state ferries over Labor Day weekend

SEATTLE – People who plan to travel on a state ferry over the Labor Day weekend should check sailing schedules and plan for long waits if driving a vehicle aboard. Several routes will operate on modified schedules dependent on Washington State Ferries’ COVID-19 Response Service Plan.

“As many look to take advantage of the great weather forecast over the long holiday weekend, I want to remind everyone that most counties remain under essential or limited non-essential travel orders under the Safe Start reopening plan,” said Amy Scarton, head of WSF. “I continue to ask that you ride our ferries only if absolutely necessary.”

Because of the coronavirus, customers who board a state ferry in a vehicle are strongly encouraged to remain in the vehicle throughout the sailing. For anyone not inside a vehicle, a face covering is required on all ferries in compliance with the state’s health order. Anyone that boards a ferry in a vehicle should put on a face covering if they exit the vehicle during the sailing. Masks are available on board for those who need them. To maintain physical distance standards, WSF will enforce reduced occupancy in terminals and on sailings for walk-on passengers.

What to know before hopping on a ferry over the Labor Day holiday weekend
The longest wait times for vehicles are likely to be at the Edmonds, Kingston, Mukilteo and Clinton terminals. These routes often have the highest vehicle ridership in the system on any given day. To reduce or eliminate waiting, riders may consider taking an early morning or late evening sailing.

Riders on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route should plan for delays as service on the run has been falling behind schedule. Because of the pandemic, the route is operating on timetables normally used during the winter months, which are not designed to handle the loading and unloading times of higher ridership levels.

The busiest sailings will likely be in the westbound direction Friday, Sept. 4, then eastbound Sunday and Monday, Sept. 6 and 7.

Modified schedules due to COVID-19
Travelers who haven’t ridden a ferry lately should be aware of changes in schedules due to the pandemic. The following routes are operating on modified schedules:
• Seattle/Bainbridge and Mukilteo/Clinton: Final daily round trip suspended
• Seattle/Bremerton: One-boat service, final daily round trip suspended
• Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth: Two-boat schedule, late-night sailings suspended
• Edmonds/Kingston: Final round trip suspended on Fridays and Saturdays
• Port Townsend/Coupeville: One-boat service
• Anacortes/San Juan Islands: Winter schedule