LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Ferry system adrift
February 17, 2009 · Updated 2:01 PM
To the editor:
The reduction of real services on Washington State Ferries is deplorable.
I have no reason to trust WSF and the Legislature to do the right thing for ferry users after seeing their recent proposals and enactments.
As of Feb. 25, WSF will no longer accept checks. This will be a great inconvenience for many of us who do not wish to increase credit card debt and do not always have sufficient cash.
WSF says it will save a small amount of money by making this change.
What if all suppliers decided they would no longer accept checks? How would that affect you? Is the relatively small savings worth the inconvenience to ferry users? I will probably start paying the ferry fees in coins, if they continue this absurd policy.
WSF is also discontinuing seniors’ and youths’ use of the ticket kiosks.
This means (in Mukilteo) we will have to walk up the hill to get a reduced-fare ticket. This is also true for people with disabilities.
What kind of cruel punishment is this? It’s another example of WSF’s disregard for good service. In addition, seniors and youths must now prove eligibility for reduced fares. This is guaranteed to slow the ticketing and boarding process.
Now, regarding the ridiculous idea of reservations:
That may be fine for a situation like the Keystone run, where WSF and the Legislature have failed miserably to provide adequate service and must now compensate for their ineptness, but it is a really dumb idea for other routes, such as Mukilteo to Clinton.
The idea that 90-percent reservations would help users is absurd. Even reserving a small fraction of each boat doesn’t make much sense and will inconvenience most riders.
We get to the dock when we need to, and sometimes we don’t know ahead of time if we must use the ferry. If we are on the other side, issues may prevent us from returning at a prescribed time. Riders with medical issues have always been able to get priority boarding. Oh, it would be convenient for WSF, but it will be disaster for most users! Such a process will slow down boarding and cause many users to have to drive all the way around Whidbey.
It seems WSF just looks for more ways to inconvenience users under the guise of becoming more efficient.
Well, they are making it increasingly difficult for users, and this will have a negative effect on businesses, regardless of which side of the “pond” they are on.
That isn’t what citizens or the state need. What if WDOT decided to reserve 90 percent of the space on the highways?
By the way, if you have to buy a ticket online, make sure you use it before the 90-day window expires or you will lose your remaining trips and the WSF people will automatically charge more money to your account. Will their “service improvements” never end?