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Number of riders on state ferries drops during July 4th weekend

Fewer people than last year stepped aboard state ferries during the busy Fourth of July weekend, ferry officials said today.

Ridership was down on Whidbey Island, as well.

While overall Washington state ferry ridership fell 5.5 percent from the prior year, on the Clinton-Mukilteo route, the total number of riders fell 7 percent. Total ridership on the Keystone-Port Townsend route dropped by 22.4 percent.

Statewide, the number of vehicles on ferries during the holiday weekend dropped 15.2 percent. On the Clinton run, it fell by 12.5 percent, while on the Keystone route, it dropped by 33.1 percent.

A total of 23,560 vehicles used the Clinton-Mukilteo route from July 3 to July 6 over the previous year, according to Washington State Ferries. On the Keystone route, the system handled a total of 3,048 vehicles during the holiday weekend.

The number of walk-on passengers on the Clinton route also dropped. A total of 6,662 passengers walked on the ferry during the holiday weekend, a decline of 19.4 percent from 2007.

Even with the cutback in ferry service on the Port Townsend/Keystone route, the number of foot passengers rose during the holiday weekend. Foot passengers forsaking their cars to walk on board fueled a 3.9 percent increase, to 1,915 riders.

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