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News / Northwest

WA State Ferries to open winter reservations (with some changes)

By Vonnai Phair, The Seattle Times
Published: November 7, 2023, 7:55am

SEATTLE — Washington State Ferries is opening winter vehicle reservations at 10 a.m. Tuesday, one week later than normal.

The 10 a.m. start time also is three hours later than previous 7 a.m. releases, an adjustment recommended by the San Juan Islands Ferry Advisory Committee to curb high demand, the agency said.

Reservations being released this week cover travel from Dec. 31 through next March 23.

The adjustment is designed to help manage the high demand for reservations released two months ahead of sailing dates. Additional reservations, available two weeks and again two days ahead of sailing dates, will still be released at 7 a.m. daily.

The agency has lowered the number of vehicle reservations available on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands run from 90% of capacity to 75% — leaving 25% for standby — because of crew and vessel availability constraints.

Of the 75% of space available for reservations, 25% will be released at 10 a.m. Nov. 7, another 25% two weeks before each specific sailing and the final 25% two days before sailing. Those release times will be at 7 a.m.

The department said the added standby space will help ensure that reservation holders still make their trips during service disruptions. It will also allow customers the opportunity to travel without a reservation.

In addition, the department is releasing all reservations (80% of available space) on the Port Townsend/Coupeville route at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Meanwhile, delays Monday are expected across the system as Bainbridge’s overhead loading facility is out of service, the opening of Seattle’s Marion Street pedestrian bridge is delayed and the Edmonds/Kingston route is down to one boat.

The overhead loading facility at the Bainbridge terminal is temporarily out of service for unplanned maintenance, the agency said early Monday.

Walk-on passengers will load on the car deck until repairs are completed, and customers should expect delays and plan accordingly, WSF said.

The new Marion Street pedestrian bridge set to open Monday in Seattle is delayed. With no elevated crossing over Alaskan Way, walk-on passengers at Colman Dock will need to use the elevators and stairways, along with crosswalks and city streets to and from First Avenue, to access the upper level for ticketing. A signed detour will be set up.

Customers also should plan on longer than normal wait times with the Edmonds/Kingston route operating on a one-boat service Monday on the #1 sailing schedule, WSF said.