Regional Passenger-Only Ferry Study

Last Updated: 
Sep 11, 2019

PSRC is conducting a study of passenger-only ferry service in the Puget Sound region.

The Washington State Legislature has directed PSRC to conduct a Regional Passenger-Only Ferry Study, including a review of potential routes and terminals, ridership demand, costs, and use of alternative fuels.

Today there are two providers of year-round passenger-only ferry service in the region: King County Metro and Kitsap Transit. Passenger-only ferry service and ridership has been expanding in recent years. Kitsap Transit most recently started service between Kingston and downtown Seattle in 2018 and plans to provide an additional route between Southworth and downtown Seattle starting in 2020. With the success of these existing services, interest is growing in passenger-only ferries as another form of public transportation connecting to the regional transportation system.

PSRC previously conducted a study of passenger-only ferry service in 2008, including an analysis of market opportunities, viable routes in the near to long-term, fleets and facilities, and roles and action steps for various agencies throughout the region.

Funding provided by the Washington State Legislature will update this study to reflect current conditions and the possibility of additional passenger-only ferry routes. The legislation calls for the study to encompass the 12 counties bordering Puget Sound, as well as looking at potential passenger-only ferry routes on Lake Washington and Lake Union. The study must also provide recommendations to accelerate the electrification of the ferry fleet.

PSRC’S Executive Board approved contract authority for the study in June.  PSRC staff is now doing initial outreach with stakeholders and seeking a consultant.

The completed study will be submitted to the state Legislature by January 31, 2021.

Resources

2008 Regional Passenger-Only Ferry Study