Holiday ferry traffic drops

Though it may not have seemed like it for those waiting in ferry lines during the busy holiday weekend, ferry ridership on the Clinton-Mukilteo route over the period of July 1 to July 7 was actually slightly less than last year.

Ferry officials said Thursday that ridership was down about 0.7 percent when compared to the same time period in 2008.

Even so, there were plenty of vehicles in the queue for the Clinton ferry during this year’s Fourth of July holiday weekend. At one point during the post-Fourth exodus from Whidbey, the line to the Clinton terminal stretched roughly three miles.

Ferry officials said the total number of riders during the seven days was 91,386. There were 43,886 vehicles reported making the trip — a 5.1 percent increase from the year before — but passenger numbers were down 1.9 percent.

There were 12,106 walk-ons reported, virtually the same as last year.

“We started to see heavy traffic on Wednesday, July 1,” said ferry spokesman Shawn Devine. “It lasted through the following Tuesday before getting back to normal.”

Meanwhile, the Keystone-Port Townsend run experienced a

19.3 percent increase in riders, mainly because there was only foot-passenger service available last year. There were

6,515 vehicles and 5,497 foot passengers from July 1 through July 7.

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