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Des Moines fast ferry service to Seattle launches Wednesday

The ferry will take off from the Des Moines Marina and land at the Bell Harbor Marina in Seattle four times a day. The pilot program will last two months.

DES MOINES, Wash. — Commuters looking to skip the traffic driving into Seattle will be able to hop on a ferry in Des Moines beginning Wednesday, Aug. 10.

The fast ferry is a pilot program being run by the city of Des Moines after a study showed commuters were interested in an alternative way to travel to and from Seattle.

"My wife and one of our best friends, the first thing we said when we read this, we're getting on that ferry and taking that trip," said Des Moines resident Kim Duke. "We love [Seattle]. This is just a fun way to get there."

The service will be chartered and run by Puget Sound Express and make four round trips a day, Wednesday through Sunday.

The Chilkat Express will leave the Des Moines Marina at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Going southbound from Seattle, the vessel will disembark from the Bell Harbor Marina at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

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The Chilkat Express was built in 2001 as a passenger ferry for the Alaska market. The vessel is powered by twin waterjets and can travel at 40 knots.

A one-way trip takes about 40 minutes. The program will run until October 9.

Service during the first week of operation from Aug. 10-15 will be free. After the first week, trips will cost $10 each way for adults. Children ages 13 and under ride for free. Tickets for seniors and active military will cost $5.

No reservations are needed, and tickets can be purchased at the time of boarding. However, seating is limited, so purchasing tickets in advance is encouraged.

The Chilkat Express is wheelchair accessible, along with the ramps to and from the boat to the dock. Bicycles are currently not allowed on the boat, but the city said seating could be adapted in the future if demand is warranted.

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