A Community Website by Lopez Island
Started by Becca Peter
Oct 14, 2021
Agree
12
New Three-Boat Schedule = 8.5 Hour Gaps in Service
Oct 14, 2021
Here is the reduced schedule that WSF will begin on Saturday, it is basically the normal fall schedule minus boat 3, which means Lopez and SJI bear most of the reductions: https://www.wsdot.com/ferries/schedule/scheduledetailbyroute.aspx?schedrouteid=2086&route=ana-sj-sid

Below is an email I sent to WSF today:

~~~
Dear Patty,

I am writing to you today as a resident of Lopez Island. I know that WSF is facing incredibly hard times due to staffing shortages.

Ferry troubles are very familiar to all of us in the San Juan Islands. Since I moved here eight years ago, the ferries have never been particularly reliable. Unexpected cancellations are the norm for us.

There have been at least two times that we endured extended ferry shortages in recent years:

In the summer of 2017, the Yakima broke down and we operated on an emergency four-boat schedule for several weeks: https://web.archive.org/web/20170828120356/http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/0181B746-26F6-4C5A-989E-7A613E290D66/0/719731AnaSJsTempSchedule.pdf

In the fall of 2018, we were again short on functioning boats for an extended period of time, and a new three-boat schedule was released: https://web.archive.org/web/20181024132813/http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/pdf/AnaSJsTemporary3BoatSchedule.pdf

In both cases, the shortages were known in advance, and custom schedules were created in order to balance the load among the four islands served on the SJI route.


Knowing how WSF has handled service reductions in the past, I am absolutely baffled as to how we find ourselves in the current situation.

Instead of creating a new balanced three-boat schedule, or recycling the three-boat fall schedule that worked three years ago, WSF has basically kept the existing fall schedule and subtracted boat 3.

The results of this decision are catastrophic to Lopez Island. We are now facing unconscionable gaps in our schedule that are devastating to businesses on Lopez Island.

Currently, people who wish to sail from Anacortes to Lopez Island have a choice between a 6:20am or 10:35am ferry. Under the new schedule that is slated to take effect in two days, they will have to choose between a 4:15am ferry or a 10:35am ferry. Moving our first boat two hours earlier is disastrous to our essential workers who commute here from the mainland.

But even worse are the options for leaving Lopez Island. Under the new schedule, on Mon-Sat there will be no sailings between 10:40am and 7:10pm, a gap of 8.5 hours. Currently there are sailings at 1:35pm and 5:00pm in between those two sailings.

This is devastating for commerce on our island. That 4:15am sailing is too early for most businesses to send workers here, so now if they take the 10:35am boat to Lopez, they cannot leave until 7:10pm, which means sending workers here for a simple delivery or small job is going to result in a substantial amount of overtime, or more likely, they will refuse to come here at all.

Furthermore, it is unconscionable to trap people at the Lopez terminal for such long periods of time, when there is no running water or food at the terminal, just port-a-potties and finicky vending machines. There are no businesses within walking distances of the terminal, there are no food delivery options on the island, and WSF has repeatedly rebuffed our food trucks' efforts to vend there.


Nothing in this email should be a surprise, because all of these concerns were already expressed to you by our FAC.

What is the point of having FACs if they are going to be ignored?


I appreciate the incredible challenges that WSF is facing right now, but our ferry schedule can still be adjusted under your current constraints.

I am begging you as a resident of Lopez Island to either adopt the 2018 fall three-boat schedule, or create a new schedule that balances the disruption across all of the islands, instead of making SJI and Lopez bear all of the pain, while Orcas has minimal reductions.

Thank you,
Becca Peter
Lopez Island
~~~
Comment by Dean Hoshizaki
Oct 22, 2021
Agree
0
In case it helps anyone with a multiple ride pass, you can get a prorated refund by calling or submitting a refund request.

The pro-rating is done by assuming all the trips used on the pass were at FULL fare.
Comment by Randall Dickson
Oct 20, 2021
Agree
0
Correction on my last comments. Debbie is NOT in charge of the ferry schedules. She called me and we had a very long conversation and she encouraged me to attend the Zoom meeting tomorrow that is open to the public on the ferry schedules. We need to have several of us on to discuss our situations of not able to get on and off the island, missing chemo app ... Read All
Comment by Hazel Burns
Oct 20, 2021
Agree
1
I wonder how much of these "staffing shortages" are the result of ferry employees resisting vaxx mandates? If that is the case, given how little contact ferry passengers need to have with ferry employees,then the problem is easily solveable. People who are vaxxed are protected and those who are not are not. Let's leave everyone to make t ... Read All
Comment by Randall Dickson
Oct 20, 2021
Agree
0
Becca, et al,

This is a great letter and was wondering if you got a response?

The San Juan Transportation Commissioner is Debbie Young (lives on Lopez) and ... Read All
Comment by Juliene Gschwend
Oct 16, 2021
Agree
1
I truly hope the bureaucracy that is the WSF listens and responds to this service gap. It does seem unworkable for most island business and residents to have a huge gap in the schedule that does not work for any tradespeople or workers from the mainland to come and go from Lopez without a horrible schedule. In the meantime, work arounds are the Paraclete, Is ... Read All
Comment by John Waugh
Oct 15, 2021
Agree
1
Great letter, Becca. Thanks for putting in time on this.
Comment by James Rapson
Oct 15, 2021
Agree
0
Brilliantly done, Becca - thank you!
Comment by Diane Dear (T&D Farms)
Oct 14, 2021
Agree
0
Thank you Becca. Well said! Is it ok with you if we copy and reference your letter in our own letter to Patty, Alex and Liz?