People commuting from West Seattle, Bremerton and Vashon Island may experience some trouble getting to work downtown as the Seattle Water Taxi will see closures from August 5 through August 11.
The temporary stoppage is a part of a new renovation to the Seattle taxi terminal, moving from Pier 52 to Pier 50. The new terminal includes improvements in safety, environmental practices, and overall rider experience that will make the 12 daily taxi sailings much more enjoyable.
Water taxi usage, according to King County Marine Division Operations and Maintenance Manager Ron Panzero, has increased ten percent annually, and that this two-year long renovation will be well worth it for commuters.
“We’re ready,” said Panzero. “We’re ready to move. It’s an exciting time for King County. We’ve got a new building that’s going to be very safe, and for our customers it’ll be a new experience for them as well.”
The new Pier 50 terminal was given a new 500 person capacity loading dock with roof cover to protect riders from the elements. A “Platinum” certification by the King County Green Building Program was awarded for the terminal for its efforts in environmentally sound construction.
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“We’ve got a lot of ADA improvements that have been made with tactile pavement and tactile signage for the visually impaired. It’s more seismically correct. We’ve done a considerable amount of upgrades with security and so I think our customers will have a much better experience here. Not to mention they’ll be dry for the time they’ll be waiting for their ferry!”
Riders will be able to use their Orca cards on the water taxi with fares as low as $5.50 on a ten minute trip to West Seattle or $6.50 on a 22 minute ride to Vashon Island.
Though these new upgrades will be available to the public beginning Aug. 12, closures to the water taxi bring about issues for riders like Sonja Tattersall, a phlebotomist at the UW Medical Center who treks from the Kitsap Peninsula five days a week to get to work.
“It’s going to increase my commute by at least half an hour,” said Tattersall. "So it’ll be a three and a half hour commute for me one way.”
Alternative transportation routes are available for those commuting to Seattle for work, with multiple King County Metro lines available downtown and West Seattle and the Washington State ferry accessible for those making the trip from the Kitsap Peninsula or Vashon Island.
“It’s a great service for the City of Seattle and King County,” said Lanzero.
For more information, visit the King County Water Taxi website for sailing times and delay updates.
Metro says there are a variety of public transportation options commuters can use during the closure. Find the list here.
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