Bremerton fast ferry running after more engine issues

KING 5's Alison Morrow reports.

The Bremerton fast ferry is running once again after engine malfunctions.

Right now, the service is free. Starting August 1, however, Kitsap Transit will start selling tickets at a big premium over the cost of the auto ferry. That's because it's the fastest ferry from Bremerton to Seattle, even though recently it's spent a lot of time going nowhere.

"The computer that tells the engine how to drive has failed. We did a repair while speaking with the original equipment manufacturer the other day. After the repairs, it worked. Then the system failed again," said Kitsap Transit Marine Director Casey Harrington.

Both times, Harrington says, the engine failure came on the boats way back from Seattle. They're not exactly sure what caused the computer to fail, but they've replaced the wiring.

"The ship has been largely inoperable for the last five years, and some of these electronics can have problems if they sit for a long time without being used," Harrington said.

The fast ferry is long-anticipated in Bremerton, where officials say home buyers are banking on rising value. It cuts the trip to Seattle in half at only 28 minutes. It also costs a lot more than the auto ferry which takes an hour to make the trip. But that ferry is the only back up when the fast ferry is out of service, and that means passengers will be out of pocket if it happens after August 1, stuck paying more money for the same old ride.

"To account for the difference in fares, ours is a more expensive fare; we are working on a process to provide a partial refund to those monthly pass holders. The details of that we'll provide at a later date," explained Kitsap Transit spokesman Sanjay Bhatt.

Kitsap Transit is planning to build two duplicates of the current fast ferry so that future malfunctions will go unnoticed, but that will take several years.

They're encouraging passengers to follow Kitsap Transit on Twitter and Facebook, as well as to sign up for text updates at KitsapTransit.com.
 

© 2017 KING-TV


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