Kitsap Transit taps former Victoria Clipper CEO to review fast ferry service

Kitsap Transit has tapped former Clipper Navigation CEO Darrell Bryan to lead a review of its cross-sound passenger-only ferry service.

Board members voted last month to form an ad hoc committee to review the reliability of the fast ferry Rich Passage 1, which sails between Bremerton and Seattle.

The committee also will examine staffing levels and training, the reservation system and customer experience. The plan was to bring in an expert who would give a report to the board before the end of the year.

At a transit board meeting Tuesday, Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent announced the committee had selected Bryan, 69, to lead the work. 

"I'm honored they selected me and I'm hot to trot, I really think this will be great for Kitsap County," Bryan said.

Bryan is best known as the former CEO of Clipper Navigation, the company that operates the Victoria Clipper ferry between Seattle and Victoria, B.C. He retired as CEO in 2015 and took a job as interim CEO for the international ferry association Interferry until March of this year.

The ad hoc committee, made up of Lent, Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder and Poulsbo City Councilman Ed Stern, chose Bryan from a list of seven possible consultants.

“I had met him, I knew what he had accomplished, I knew his integrity,” Lent said. “He said I do have the time, and he wanted the commitment, so we kind of jumped at the chance.”

Voters approved passenger-only ferry service between Bremerton and Seattle last November. The Rich Passage 1, a low-wake catamaran built to traverse Rich Passage without damaging neighboring shorelines, has suffered from near-constant mechanical breakdowns since service began in July.

It’ll be Bryan’s job to review the agency’s business plan and make any recommendations he thinks will help improve the service. The review will encompass an examination of the RP1, but also Kitsap Transit’s staffing structure, safety protocols, reservation system, vessel design and performance.

The review will also look at Kitsap Transit's negotiations with King County Marine Division to operate the boat. 

“We’re going to let him find out where we want to move to,” Lent said. “If we try to dictate what he’s going to do, it’s not going to work.”

While the specifics of the review will largely be up to Bryan, the committee is expecting it to include an examination of the Rich Passage 1 by at least two marine companies, Lent said.

© 2017 KING-TV


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