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SoundRunner begins Saturday service tomorrow

KINGSTON — When the SoundRunner passenger-only ferry service began again a year ago, the Port of Kingston courted commuters. Now, port staff wants the community to know SoundRunner is for everybody. The port will launch Saturday runs to Seattle, beginning tomorrow, enticing families with $5 fares with children 5 and under free.

“The issue with SoundRunner is it’s used by a few people who use it a lot,” Port Commissioner Walt Elliott said. “Saturday service allows the community that pays for it to use it.”

Despite some community opposition and increasing expenses, the port passed a resolution in April to continue the passenger ferry service through Sept. 30. Port commissioners and staff have held several meetings with legislators and other transit organizations, to come up with a plan that makes SoundRunner sustainable.

Elliott said if the port can show an increase in ridership this summer, SoundRunner can receive state funding in the budget and more grants to sustain service. His long-term goal is to set up a ferry district with players like Kitsap Transit and the other Kitsap ports, to bolster all public transportation in the area.

“It’s up to the community,” he said.

Commissioner Marc Bissonnette was the lone commissioner in voting against extending SoundRunner service, siding with the part of the community that didn’t believe the service is affordable.

“We’re not going to have the luxury of time,” to market SoundRunner this summer, Bissonnette said. “I would love to see it work but I’m skeptical.”

The Saturday service leaves Kingston at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and Seattle at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. ORCA, the regional transit card, will not be accepted on Saturdays. The $5 fare will go into effect for all rides June 15.

In other business, port commissioners approved repainting and renumbering the parking lot. Work should begin next week, and will result in some closures of the lot. Once the project begins, Port Manager Kori Henry said it should be completed a week later.

 

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