Tacoma city council member wants to study fast ferry service to Seattle

TACOMA, Wash. — Days after a passenger-only fast ferry began between Bremerton and Seattle, a city council member in Tacoma is suggesting a similar service for a route between Tacoma and Seattle.

Council member Ryan Mello told KIRO 7 he is talking with other officials in the city as well as Pierce Transit about funding a feasibility study for a fast foot ferry between Tacoma and Seattle.

"I think we've got to accommodate people trying to spend more time with their families and less time in their car," Mello said.



Mello said he hopes to have consultants hired and starting work early next year to figure out if a fast ferry might work and what it would cost.

He also said 40 percent of Tacoma residents leave the city for work,= and with traffic continuing to worsen on I-5, commuters are looking for alternatives to a drive than can take an hour and a half one way.

Mello doesn't think a fast ferry would solve all the problems for commuters but that it might provide another option, along with increased service from buses, commuter rail and light rail, which is due in Tacoma from Seattle in 2030.

"We've really got to start thinking more creatively and more aggressively about providing some opportunities for people to get out of gridlock," Mello said.

Last November, Kitsap County voters approved a sales tax increase for fast ferry service, which began this week from Bremerton.

Service to Seattle starts next year from Kingston and in 2020 from Southworth.

King County Metro runs water taxi service between downtown Seattle and West Seattle and Vashon Island.

Kitsap Transit also runs a foot ferry between Bremerton and Port Orchard and Annapolis.

Passenger-only ferry service was once common in Puget Sound. A century ago, Mosquito Fleet vessels connected communities large and small, with one of the runs between Seattle and Tacoma.