A variety of changes to the Pierce County Ferry sailing schedule will go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.
A total of seven service changes were made using input from the community. The changes include new runs, shifted run times, canceled runs, and changes to Ketron Island service.
“We made these changes to meet the needs of our ferry passengers and ensure we are running an efficient operation,” said Deb Wallace, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator. “These changes will be evaluated over time to ensure they make sense for our ferry system. We will continually review data on revenue, ridership and impact to customers.”
The new schedule is available online now at www.piercecountywa.org/ferry. The new schedule is displayed at the Steilacoom Ferry Terminal and on the ferry. Individual copies will be available Dec. 31.
Note: Departure times below refer to Steilacoom departure times. The non-peak season runs from Oct. 1 through April 30.
A new Thursday night run, departing at 8:40 p.m., has been added during the non-peak season to support weeknight school and other off-island activities.
The daily 10:20 a.m. run has been moved to 10 a.m. to accommodate ferry maintenance needs.
The morning fuel run on the first and third Wednesday of the month will move from noon to 10 a.m.
From July 1 through Labor Day, the Friday night run at 10 p.m. will move to 11 p.m. to accommodate off-island activities and weekend visitors.
During the non-peak season, the Sunday run at 10 p.m. will be canceled to offset the cost of adding the 8:40 p.m. Thursday run.
Ketron service changes include moving the mid-morning service from 10:20 a.m. to noon, and moving to later departure times on Thursdays through Sundays nights.
The schedule options were developed using the results of a ferry passenger survey that was completed in May, recommendations developed by Pierce County staff and the Pierce County Ferry Committee, two public meetings, and customer feedback.
While the new schedule will result in an annual cost increase of approximately $1,700, the county worked to make the changes as cost neutral as possible. The cost increase results from extending service on Fridays between July 1 and Labor Day.
The Pierce County Ferry System provides service between the town of Steilacoom, Anderson Island and Ketron Island. More information about the system is available at www.piercecountywa.org/ferry.
Deb Wallace, Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator
Anne Radford, Public Works and Utilities public information officer