Kitsap Fast Ferry

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Kitsap Fast Ferries
Kitsap Fast Ferry symbol-a.png
Locale Kitsap County, Washington
Waterway Puget Sound
Type Passenger ferry
Operator Kitsap Transit
Commenced
operation
July 10, 2017
Termini Bremerton
Kingston
Seattle
No. of lines 2 (1 planned)
No. of vessels 2 (4 planned)

Kitsap Fast Ferries is a passenger ferry service connecting Bremerton in Kitsap County with Seattle in Washington.

History

Early operations

Kitsap County and Seattle were connected by a variety of passenger steamship ferries known as the "mosquito fleet" in the late 19th and early 20th century. Service was eventually replaced by automobile and passenger ferry service operated by the Puget Sound Navigation Company, which later became Washington State Ferries.

Passenger-only services were introduced once again by Washington State Ferries in the 1980s to help alleviate auto ferry traffic service between Seattle and Bremerton, Southworth, and Vashon Island. The 400-passenger catamaran MV Express (renamed MV Tyee) was leased in 1985 and began operations in 1986 between Seattle and Bremerton. The total crossing was approximately 38 minutes but initially failed to carry enough passengers to meet expectations until passenger numbers steadily grew in 1989.

Operational costs began to increase and funding was reliant on gas taxes from the state. Funding was not guaranteed in the 1989 budget and the MV Tyee and two other vessels were pulled from service. The three vessels were loaned to San Francisco and returned in 1990.

In 1990, ferries were slowed from 25 knots to 12 knots when passing through Sinclair Inlet and Rich Passage near Bremerton due to complaints from shoreline residents that damage was being caused from wakes created by the ferries. The MV Chinook replaced the MV Tyee in 1998. The MV Chinook was designed to create smaller wakes at high speeds. In 1999, Rich Passage residents filed a lawsuit against Washington State Ferries seeking restitution for damaged properties created by wakes from the MV Chinook.

In referendums in 1999 and 2002 to fund ferry services, funding for ferry services were cut which led to the state legislature eliminating the service in 2003.

Kitsap Transit

Following the elimination of the service provided by Washington State Ferries in 2003, the state legislature allowed non-state entities to operate their own ferry services near Washington State Ferries routes. Kitsap Transit placed a 0.3% sales tax increase on a referendum to fund a passenger ferry service to replace the eliminated ferry service. The referendum was rejected.
Map of the Bremerton–Seattle route.

In 2004, Kitsap Transit partnered with private operators, launching a Seattle–Bremerton service operated by Kitsap Ferry Company. The service struggled to attract riders initially, and struggled to operate at a profit. Kitsap Transit placed the 0.3% tax increase on the ballot again, but was rejected in 2007 by voters. Shortly afterwards, Kitsap Transit pulled its funding for Kitsap Ferry Company, which later suspended operations.

Kitsap Transit commissioned the construction of a new catamaran designed for low wakes in 2009. The 78-foot-long Rich Passage 1 was built in Bellingham as part of a study. Testing began in Kitsap County in 2011 and passenger service trials in 2012. Rich Passage 1 traveled the 35-minute crossing between Bremerton and Seattle successfully and created half the wake a larger ferry would through Rich Passage travelling at 38 knots.

Funding for the study was provided through federal grants, which expired in 2012. The vessel spent several years in out-of-water storage and was occasionally used for infill trips for Washington State Ferries.

In 2015, a business plan was drafted by Kitsap Transit to develop a fast ferry system service Bremerton, Kingston and Southworth with Seattle. The 0.3% tax increase was once again presented and was approved through a referendum in 2016.

Service

Currently, there is one route connecting Bremerton and Seattle. Two more are planned: Kingston to Seattle in 2018 and Southworth in 2020.

Fares

One-Way Cash KT Monthly Pass PugetPass
Full Fare $2.00 (Eastbound)
$10.00 (Westbound)
$168.00 (Fast Ferry Only)
$196.00 (Bus and Fast Ferry)
$72.00 (Eastbound Only)
$360.00 (Eastbound and Westbound)
Reduced Fare $1.00 (Eastbound)
$5.00 (Westbound)
$84.00 (Fast Ferry Only)
$98.00 (Bus and Fast Ferry)
$36.00 (Eastbound Only)
$180.00 (Eastbound and Westbound)

Bremerton–Seattle

The Bremerton–Seattle route runs Monday to Saturday in summer season but in off season Monday to Friday and takes approximately 30 minutes. There are 8 round trips on weekdays and 10 round trips on Saturday.

Kingston–Seattle

The Kingston–Seattle route runs Monday to Friday and takes approximately 40 minutes. There are 6 round trips on weekday.

Southworth–Seattle

Service is planned to be launched in 2020.

Fleet

Foot Ferry

Name Thumbnail Year Passengers Route Notes
MV Carlisle II 1917 143 Bremerton–Port Orchard The oldest of only two operational examples of a Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet vessel.
MV Admiral Pete 122 Bremerton–Annapolis (peak)
Bremerton–Port Orchard (off-peak)

Future vessels

Name Thumbnail Year Passenger capacity Route Notes
MV Waterman [1] 2019 150 Bremerton–Annapolis (peak)
Bremerton–Port Orchard
  • Hybrid vessels
  • Expected to be delivered late March or early April, currently under going sea trials.

Current fast ferry roster

Name Thumbnail Year Passenger capacity Route Notes
Rich Passage 1 Kitsap Transit Rich Passage 1-a.jpg 2011 118 Bremerton–Seattle
MV Finest Kitsap Transit MV Finest-a.jpg 1996 350 Kingston–Seattle
  • Brought from NY Waterways
  • Once the second bow loading vessel is lunched, she will be back up for Kingston–Seattle.
M/V Melissa Ann 1988 172 Kingston–Seattle (Backup)

Future vessels

Name Thumbnail Year Passengers Route Notes
MV Reliance [2] Kitsap Transit MV Reliance-a.jpg 118 Bremerton–Seattle Construction complete, Awaiting delivery.
MV Lady Swift [3] 118 Bremerton–Seattle (backup)
Kingston–Seattle (backup)
Under Construction.
Southworth 1
(bow loading catamaran)
Kitsap Transit Bow Loading Catamaran.png (2020) 250 Southworth–Seattle Planned purchase. Likely to be renamed.
Southworth 2
(bow loading catamaran)
Kitsap Transit Bow Loading Catamaran.png (2021) 250 Kingston–Seattle
Southworth–Seattle (Backup)
Planned purchase. Likely to be renamed.

References

  1. https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/local/2019/03/14/kitsap-transit-new-ferries-port-orchard-bremerton-seattle/3152170002/
  2. https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/local/2019/03/14/kitsap-transit-new-ferries-port-orchard-bremerton-seattle/3152170002/
  3. https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/local/2019/03/14/kitsap-transit-new-ferries-port-orchard-bremerton-seattle/3152170002/