Washington State Ferries
Long Range Plan

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The online open house and survey is now closed. Washington State Ferries will release the draft plan for a 45-day public comment period and hold a second round of community meetings in September 2018. The final plan is due to the legislature on Jan. 1, 2019. Sign up to receive email updates and stay informed!

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What is the Long Range Plan?

  • WSF is developing a Long Range Plan to better understand and plan for the ferry system’s changing needs through 2040.
  • The plan will guide future service and investments in vessels and terminals.
Ferry deck

2040 Long Range Plan

In addition to community input, several legislative directives and policies will help shape the Long Range Plan.

2017/2019 Transportation budget

  • Review the changing needs of ferry system users and funding opportunities and challenges
  • Evaluate strategies to help spread peak ridership
  • Identify operational changes to reduce costs
  • Address the seismic vulnerability and emergency preparedness of the system

WSDOT plans

  • Washington transportation plan
  • Human services transportation plan
  • Public transportation plan
  • Climate resiliency plan

Long Range Plan objective

Provide information about the needs of ferry customers, establish operational and pricing strategies to meet those needs, and identify vessel and terminal operations and capital requirements.

WSDOT strategic goals

  • Inclusion
  • Practical solutions
  • Workforce development

Executive Order 18-01

Directs WSF to begin the transition to a zero-carbon-emission ferry fleet, including accelerated adoption of both ferry electrification and operational improvements to conserve energy and cut fuel use.

2007 Legislative directive (ESHB 2358)

  • Include service objectives for routes
  • Forecast demand
  • Develop investment strategies that consider regional and statewide needs
  • Support local use plans, and assure that ferry services are fully integrated with other transportation services
  • Provide for the preservation of capital assets based on lowest life-cycle cost methods; be consistent with the regional transportation plans
  • Be developed in conjunction with the Ferry Advisory Committees

2013 Origin-Destination Survey

Includes where ferry riders travel before and after they take a ferry

Timeline

Washington State Ferries is developing the Long Range Plan from July 2017 to winter 2019. A progress report is due to Legislature in June and the final plan will be delivered to Legislature by January 1, 2019. WSF is engaging stakeholders and the public throughout plan development.

Washington State Ferries is developing the Long Range Plan from July 2017 to winter 2019. A progress report is due to Legislature in June and the final plan will be delivered to Legislature by January 1, 2019. WSF is engaging stakeholders and the public throughout plan development.

What will the ferry system look like in 2040?

Systemwide ridership is projected to increase 30 percent by 2040. The Long Range Plan will help WSF determine how to accommodate future growth. Ridership forecasts are based on rider survey results and local and regional forecast data from the Puget Sound Regional Council and local jurisdictions.

terminal map

Projected increase in total annual riders by route

(Based on fiscal year 2017)

Port Townsend/Coupeville

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    796,400
2040    1,220,000

Edmonds/Kingston

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    3,982,900
2040    5,874,400

Southworth/Vashon

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    198,800
2040    311,900

Vashon/Fauntleroy

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    1,985,200
2040    2,353,600

Fauntleroy/Southworth

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    912,800
2040    1,252,700

Anacortes/San Juan Islands

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    2,151,900
2040   2,951,500

Anacortes/Sidney, B.C.

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    141,700
2040    207,600

Mukilteo/Clinton

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    4,032,600
 2040    4,677,500

Seattle/Bainbridge Island

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    6,545,900
2040    8,766,700

Seattle/Bremerton

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    2,814,700
2040    3,948,500

Point Defiance/Tahlequah

%

Increase in total number of riders


2017    778,700
2040    1,146,700

Historic and anticipated ridership

Historically, ridership is impacted by fare increases and economic conditions. Projected ridership forecasts do not reflect variations between now and 2040.

WSF ridership decreased in 1993 when the regional recession began. WSF had the highest ridership in its history (26.8 million riders) in 1998. I-695 passed in 1999 and resulted in drastic service cuts, which occurred at the same time as a regional recession. There was a 20% fare increase in 2002 and a 12.5% fare increase in 2003. Winter service cuts occurred in 2004 and the Great Recession began in 2008. Between 2004 and 2017 there were annual fare increases of 2.5-6%. Currently, in 2018, annual ridership levels have reached 24.5 million. By 2028, WSF is projected to exceed historical peak ridership from 1999, with ferry ridership growing more than 30% by 2040.

After a decade of growth, ridership decreased slightly in 1992 when the regional recession began. WSF had the highest ridership in its history (26.8 million riders) in 1999. I-695 passed in 1999 and resulted in drastic service cuts, which occurred at the same time as a regional recession. There was a 20% fare increase in 2002 and a 12.5% fare increase in 2003. Winter service cuts occurred in 2004 and the Great Recession began in 2008. Between 2004 and 2017 there were annual fare increases of 2.5-6%. Currently, in 2018, annual ridership levels have reached 24.5 million. By 2028, WSF is projected to exceed historical peak ridership from 1999, with ferry ridership growing more than 30% by 2040.