Ferry riders face long waits without the Walla Walla

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 19 at 1:12 PM

Ferry riders are feeling the effects of the Washington State Ferry Walla Walla being out of service until the Spring of 2013. Monday was the first day of service with the smaller Kitsap and Sealth ferries on two major routes.

Even travelers who planned ahead had problems. Janice Foote knew there would be fewer spots, so she arrived at the Bremerton Ferry Terminal at 4:00 a.m. for a 4:50 a.m. ferry. But the replacement ferry filled to capacity sooner than she thought, forcing her to wait for the next ferry at 6:20 a.m.

"I'm very disappointed not to have my spot in line," she said. "I just feel sorry for the who show up at 6:00 a.m. because they probably won't be getting on today."

As KING 5 investigators explained last week, the changes will affect two ferry routes, Seattle/Bremerton and Edmonds/Kingston. Commuters who use those routes face long travel days with the limited space.

"We've got to get up at 3:30 in the morning only to get here and wait for a few hours," said Hal Seger. "We have to start work at 8:00 a.m. in Seattle, so a full day of work is going to be about 15 hours."

Ferry riders are all facing the same problem, with the Sealth's 90-car, 1,200-passenger capacity less than half of the Walla Walla, which held 188 cars and 2,000 passengers. The Kitsap can carry 124 cars and 1,200 passengers.

"I thought I was getting here early enough, but I was too late," Dave Sullivan said. "I'm just a few cars back from the front now. They have got to get this figured out."

WSF Walla Walla is inoperable because one of its four drive motors was destroyed in an electrical accident on November 4. It was undergoing routine maintenance at a facility on Bainbridge Island at the time.

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