LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Give commuters priority fares
June 30, 2009 · Updated 6:33 AM
To the editor:
We are one of many South Whidbey families who have parked a car in Mukilteo for the past several years, enabling us to walk on the ferry rather than wait in line. This has worked well. The first news we had that the parking was going away in a few months was the article in the Record on May 30, and it was a shock.
Why the short notice? Why was this not announced a year ago to give commuters more time to find alternatives?
It is unclear exactly what will become of the existing parking lots, which must currently create significant revenue. If they are to be used for access to the Mukilteo lighthouse park, it seems unlikely they will be occupied on a rainy, raw November day when the spaces might otherwise be filled by commuters.
If the point is to reduce ferry-line congestion, this will have the opposite effect.
The Mukilteo mayor’s initial statements were a poke in the eye to Whidbey residents, and many here favor a response in kind. It is not the responsibility of Whidbey Island residents to support the economy of Mukilteo.
It just isn’t.
The alternatives suggested, such as a shuttle bus to a remote lot or a reservation system, are, in my view, unworkable.
One remedy that can and should be implemented immediately is a priority loading scheme for Whidbey Island residents on this ferry run. Our ineffective legislators are constantly whining about the lack of funds for ferries; well, here’s a way to make some money. Charge a premium for the permit, then allow holders to drive on with the same priority accorded vanpools and carpools. If there is room on the ferry, they drive on first.
We pay more for better seats at the ballpark, why not on the boats?
Signage and the WSF Web site could inform tourists and others that there may be a significant wait during commuter hours.
This is an unfortunate situation that should have been avoided. We depend on our elected local and state officials to find ways to make things better, not to come up with sudden and silly changes that disrupt lives.