Washington State Ferries

ferry
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Ross Reynolds speaks with Lynn Griffith, chief of Washington State Ferries, about what passengers say about the new reservation system, what "new ferry smell" is like and why she jumped in the water in front of all of her employees.

The ferry Tacoma, undergoing tests before going back into service. "Needs a paint job" observed Lynne Griffith, the ferries chief.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The ferry Tacoma returned to service last weekend, ending an eight-month hiatus in the repair shop.

Last July, the ferry suffered a power failure and went adrift on the Seattle-to-Bainbridge Island route. Its loss created a cascade of service failures, showing the stress in the state’s ferry system.

Flickr Photo/Pipers Creek

Aging vessels are frequently blamed for problems in Washington’s ferry system. But the latest performance report says new ferries are giving the state plenty of grief.

Washington State Ferries missed its goal of keeping vessel out-of-service time to an average of eight weeks a year in 2014, and young ferries were key players.

A Washington State ferry travels to Friday Harbor.
Flickr Photo/James N (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Travelers to the San Juan Islands have always had to cope with uncertainty. Up to now there’s been no way to guarantee a spot on a particular ferry.

But Washington ferries are now taking reservations for the San Juan Islands. The first ferries to fill up under the new system leave Monday morning.

Washington state ferries has a new boss.

She's Lynne Griffith, who is currently the chief executive of Pierce County transit.

And a memo from her new boss to the governor indicates her marching orders.

KUOW's Carolyn Adolph reports.

TRANSCRIPT

In the memo, transportation secretary Lynn Peterson tells the governor that the goal is to stop missing sailings.

Ninety-nine trips were canceled last year because of lack of available crew.

Peterson wants those trips to proceed - only with fewer passengers.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with State Senator Curtis King about how to fund the expensive Washington ferry system. King, a Republican from Yakima, is co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Washington state ferry
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel speaks with former Washington State Secretary of Transportation, Doug MacDonald, about why the ferry system has trouble replacing boats, finding a permanent assistant secretary and securing funding.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Washington’s ferry fleet is among the largest and oldest in the country. Last week we learned just how vulnerable it is when, at the height of tourist season, one of the ferries broke down.

Buying a new ferry isn’t like buying a new car, however. The next ferry due to hit the docks is the Samish, under construction at the Vigor shipyard on Harbor Island. It should be in service early next year.

Flickr Photo/Official US Navy Page (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This week, we’re talking about former Seattle mayor Paul Schell, the monorail and Seafair. And we may just be able to work in Bobo the Gorilla, Ivar and the Bubbleator.

In between Blue Angels fly-bys, listen to KUOW's Bill Radke review the week's news with Eli Sanders of The Stranger, Crosscut's Knute Berger and Jezebel’s Lindy West.

KUOW Photo/Deb Wang

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he'll review the city's regulations on helicopter use following Tuesday's crash of a KOMO News helicopter that killed two and injured one. Washington State Ferries chief David Moseley announces his resignation. Plus, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant says she'll support a gradual phase-in of the $15 minimum wage for small businesses and nonprofits. 

Steve Scher reviews these stories and more with news analyst Joni Balter, Crosscut's Knute Berger, Eli Sanders of The Stranger and Livewire host Luke Burbank.

Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation (CC BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks with Douglas MacDonald, former Secretary of Transportation for Washington and current contributing writer for Crosscut. MacDonald talks about the challenges awaiting the new director of the Washington State Ferries. Current director David Moseley resigned earlier this week. His last day is April 15.

David Moseley, the head of Washington State Ferries, announced Tuesday that he will step down on April 15 after six years on the job.