Due to anticipated record ridership and higher than expected revenues, King County Metro Transit will extend service on the Water Taxi through the month of October. The extended service will be offered on weekdays only and serve commuters traveling between West Seattle’s Seacrest Dock and Pier 55 along the downtown Seattle waterfront. The Water Taxi had been scheduled to wrap up its 10th sailing season on Sept. 30.
“The value of the Elliott Bay Water Taxi was particularly evident during the Interstate 5 construction when it carried more than 2,300 passengers in nine days,” King County Executive Ron Sims said. “That’s proof more residents are willing to leave their cars at home and try the Water Taxi.”
There will also be service for the two October home Seahawk games on the 14th and 21st. (What about them Seeeeeeeeahawks?!)
Speaking of waterborne transit…
The King County Council recently voted to establish a ferry district, which will include, at minimum, the Elliott Bay Water Taxi and the Vashon passenger-only ferry that the state has decided to stop running. In the future, expect to hear discussions of other waterborne transit possibilities.
The District would potentially support operation of Vashon-Seattle passenger-only ferries, year-round Elliott Bay Water Taxi service, and a Kirkland-to-University of Washington demonstration route; conduct feasibility studies of future routes; and establish a modest capital fund for better boats and dock facilities. Other potential destinations that could be served include West Seattle, Des Moines, downtown Seattle, North Bay, Magnolia, Shilshole, Shoreline, Lake Union, North Renton, and Kenmore. Depending on the results of a potential feasibility study for passenger-only ferry service for South Puget Sound, additional service could be developed linking King County with Gig Harbor and Tacoma.
My take: I love the Water Taxi and ride it often, but I’m not yet sure that expanding waterborne transit in this region makes sense. It will only work well if there are efficient ways to get people to and from the boats. I’d rather take a bus across a bridge (even a crowded bridge) than take a bus to a boat, wait to get on, board, ride, and then catch another bus at the other end. (This isn’t an issue when I take the Water Taxi, since it takes me from downtown straight to my destination.)
Still, it will be interesting to see how this idea progresses. I’m keeping my mind open.