Ferry ridership in the Puget Sound region is booming, reaching 12.1 million riders over the first six months of this year, up 104%, compared with the same period in 2014.
The figures, compiled by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), include area ferry routes operated by Washington State Ferries and Pierce County, which serve cars and walk-on passengers, as well as passenger-only ferry service provided by King County Metro and Kitsap Transit.
The jump in passenger-only ferry service over the period is particularly robust. King County Metro ferry ridership jumped from 200,000 walk-on passengers to 357,000 between January and June 2014 and the same six-month period this year ― a 78.5% jump. Kitsap Transit boasted an even bigger increase in passenger-only ferry service over the period, going from 230,000 to 519,000 passengers ― a 125.6% increase.
“The growth in boardings corresponds to increases in service frequency over this time period and launching of new routes, including Kitsap Transit’s Bremerton to Seattle and Kingston to Seattle fast-ferry service,” the PSRC report notes. “Interest is growing in expanding foot ferries in other parts of the region.”
In fact, the PSRC reports that it has received a $350,000 grant from the state to conduct a passenger-only ferry study that will examine opportunities for new routes and terminal locations across the 12 counties bordering Puget Sound as well communities on Lake Washington and Lake Union.