Wash. State Ferries sees increased ridership, reinstated schedules

VIDEO: Wash. State Ferries sees increased ridership, reinstated schedules

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, ridership is going up again for Washington State Ferries. Additionally, service is being reinstated.

The round-trip ferry between Mukilteo and Clinton is a good example of the slow comeback.

When the pandemic hit, only one ferry operated between the two towns on the weekends, now, it is back to two.

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In the process, riders like Deana Swenson have more options on getting to Whidbey Island.

“I like the wind and the waves,” she commented.  “It may not be a long boat ride, but it’s still a nice boat ride.”

Increased ferry service is not limited to the North Sound.

For the first time since March, two-boat service is also happening daily on the Seattle-Bainbridge route.

“I didn’t have to wait in a line, that’s for sure,” said passenger Madison Stroh, who admitted she didn’t check the schedules because she assumed she would have an easy time boarding a ferry.

Currently, 41,000 people are catching WSF vessels every day. That’s triple the number of riders this spring, according to WSF administrators.

Additionally, nearly 30 new workers have been hired since August, allowing ferries to operate more often.

“It’s very nostalgic because I used to take it every day, and I’m just enjoying the peace and quiet,” Stroh said.

“I wasn’t sure what I could expect, but it seems fine,” Swenson added.

At the height of the pandemic, people were discouraged from walking on WSF ships. While that’s no longer the case, riders must wear masks at all times while onboard.