Public-public partnership to operate fast ferry

Kitsap Transit announced this week that it will contract with King County Marine Division to operate its upcoming passenger-only ferry service between Kitsap County and Seattle.

Kitsap voters approved the new ferry service in November. The 28 minute ferry from Bremerton is scheduled to set sail in July 2017. Kingston and Southworth will follow in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

King County will operate and maintain all three services in an agreement scheduled to be finalized in the spring.

“King County Marine Division has demonstrated its expertise through its operation of the King County Water Taxi and has the marine infrastructure to support passenger-only ferry services,” said Port Orchard Mayor Robert Putaansuu. “With a strong operating partner, Kitsap Transit can continue to deliver reliable service to our commuter base and usher in a new chapter for inter-county transit in Kitsap County.”

To fully implement the fast ferry plan, Kitsap Transit will put out a request for bids in the spring to design and build bow-loading vessels that can pull directly into the same slips used by Washington State Ferries.

Joint operations will ensure that King County’s existing services will work seamlessly with the new service and both will coordinate with the upgrades underway at Coleman Dock.