Add three more ferries to the list of commuter runs crossing Puget Sound. King and Kitsap Counties will begin operating passenger only ferries to downtown Seattle in July of this year. The fast ferries will make the crossing in about 28 minutes, about half the time it takes the Washington State Ferries to cross with its iconic car ferries.
Walk-on passengers make up the the State’s ferry traffic, particularly on routes that are supported by mass transit at both terminals. The agreement is between Kitsap Transit and King County Marine Division, which operates the water taxis. King County will operate the vessels. Kitsap County will put out the bid for the additional vessels.
Additional runs will be added from Kingston (2018) and Southworth (2020). The goal is to work with vessels that will work with the loading ramps at Colman Dock, which means designing them to loaded from the bow. Kitsap voters already approved the service.
Shortening the trip times will encourage some commuters to take advantage of more affordable housing. A comparison of median house prices are $595,000 for Seattle versus $319,900 for Kingston and $259,900 for Bremerton. Trading a city commute for a nautical one can become quite enticing when it means saving a few hundred thousand dollars.
Watch to see if housing prices change accordingly. Also watch to see if the new fast ferries avoid the issues of beach erosion that impacted previous attempts.