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Sailings on the Bainbridge Island-Seattle ferry route will be cut in half due to fewer riders getting on state ferries because of the spread of COVID-19, state ferry officials announced Friday.
The cutback in sailings extends beyond Bainbridge and includes all of Washington State Ferries’ central Puget Sound routes.
Sailings will be cut back starting Sunday, March 29, and stay in place through at least April 25.
“The suspension of these sailings will give vessel crews and terminal staff more time to thoroughly clean and sanitize, making the ferries safer for everyone,” said Amy Scarton, head of WSF. “Further suspensions and adjustments are possible depending on ridership trends.”
WSF said that while sailings on the Bainbridge-Seattle and Seattle-Bremerton routes are being reduced by about half, the “Triangle” route – Fauntleroy-Vashon, Fauntleroy-Southworth, and Southworth-Vashon — will move to a two-boat schedule, which reduces sailings by about one-third.
The final roundtrips of each sailing day are also being cancelled on the Bainbridge-Seattle, Seattle-Bremerton and Mukilteo-Clinton routes, also starting March 29.
“I know many people depend on our state ferries to get to work, and for goods, services and medical appointments,” said Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar.
“Our top priority remains the safety of our passengers and WSF crew as they continue vital ferry service,” Millar added.
Ridership on state ferries was down about 60 percent as of March 26, when compared to the last week of February, WSF said.
Walk-on passengers have decreased more than 80 percent, while the number of vehicles carried has dropped nearly 50 percent.