Ferry ridership dropped dramatically during winter storm

The number of travelers on the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry route dropped by nearly half during January’s wicked week of winter weather.

Winter weather dumped more than a foot of snow in some areas of South Whidbey during the week of Jan. 14-Jan. 20, and traffic statistics released by Washington State Ferries show a dramatic drop-off in riders.

A total of 37,433 riders were reported on the Clinton-Mukilteo route that week, and a total of 19,057 vehicles traveled on the route.

The week before the storm, dubbed “Snowmaggeddon” by some, WSF reported a total of 69,987 riders and 35,575 vehicles on the Clinton-Mukilteo route.

WSF officials said the drop-off in travelers wasn’t a surprise.

“The ridership drop is pretty typical for major storm events,” said Ray Deardorf, planning director for the state ferry system.

For the entire ferry system, the number of riders dropped to 207,684 during storm week. A total of 350,746 riders were reported in the week before the storm. The number of vehicles carried by state ferries fell to 95,044 from 165,273 the week of Jan. 14-Jan. 20.