Growing ferry ridership in the region

Fifth consecutive year of ridership gains

More people than ever are boarding ferries to travel across Puget Sound.

Ridership on state ferry routes in the region increased by 1 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, for a total of 21.7 million boardings.

This growth in ridership, while smaller than prior years, contin­ues the trend of straight annual increases seen in the last five years on the state ferries in the region.  

Ridership grew on each of the six state auto-routes from 2016 to 2017. The largest increase in ridership was seen on the Pt. Defiance-Tahlequah route, with a 4 percent increase.

The Bainbridge-Seattle route continues to be the busiest, accounting for 30 percent of state ferry ridership in the central Puget Sound region in 2017.

Ferry ridership on county-provided routes has also experienced strong growth.

Since 2010, ridership on all county-provided ferry services has increased 38 percent.

To meet growing demand, county-level operators have increased service frequency and, in some cases, have launched new services such as Kitsap Transit’s Bremerton to Seattle fast ferry service.

Pierce County saw the largest annual increase in ridership on county-provided services, with an 8 percent increase in ridership in 2017 compared to 2016.

For more data, go to our latest Puget Sound Trend Ferry Ridership in the Central Puget Sound Regionwhich has information on monthly ridership totals for 2017 and shares of walk-on and vehicle passengers by route.