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Poulsbo man upset with ferry schedule changes

POULSBO — Mark Nazarino is hoping that Sunday-morning ferry commuters don’t get an unpleasant surprise later this year.

To do his part in making sure they don’t, the Poulsbo resident is circulating a petition protesting one of the proposed ferry schedule changes released by Washington State Ferries last week.

Two proposed schedules were released, and in both, the 5:30 a.m. Sunday boat from Bainbridge Island to Seattle were eliminated.

While most people don’t think of Sunday as a commuting day, Nazarino said, for many people it is.

“It’s a working crowd, not tourists,” he explained.

Nazarino is a technician at KOMO and has to be at work in downtown Seattle at 6:30 a.m. on Sundays. While on the early-morning ferry, he often sees nurses, medical technicians, firefighters and other workers who have to be in Seattle in the early hours of the day.

Nazarino concedes that changes are needed and will be made in the ferry schedule but said getting rid of a first-run boat is a problem.

“When you get rid of a first-run boat, you have no options,” he said. “What do you do — go (to Seattle) the day before?”

Another group that may be caught in the crunch is travellers, Nazarino said. Anyone catching an early flight out of SeaTac airport may have problems getting there if the first ferry goes away.

The proposed schedule changes are the first major ones in 15 years and the Seattle-Bainbridge Island route will be the first to be reviewed because it carries the most traffic — 26 percent of the ferry system’s load.

It also has the worst on-time performance.

Under both schedules, the first boat to Seattle will leave shortly after 6 a.m. One option has a 6:15 a.m. boat, while the other has a 6:25.

Nazarino brought his petition on the ferry for two runs, and so far has gathered 100 signatures. Many people printed their occupation next to their signature, listing everything from firefighter to longeshoreman.

Ferry representatives were on several recent boats, listening to opinions about the recent changes. Nazarino circulated his petition, handed out opinion cards, and is encouraging people to tell the ferry representatives how they feel about the proposed changes.

“My concern is that if I don’t do this, the 5:30 boat may be overlooked,” he said.

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