WSF revising proposed schedule

t Officials say changes due to print Nov. 18

KINGSTON – The general election wasn’t the only thing weighing on Kingston residents’ minds Tuesday night.

While constantly checking phones for the latest Internet coverage on the Barack Obama vs. John McCain presidential race, about 20 Kingston residents spoke out against Washington State Ferry officials' proposed schedule for the Kingston/Edmonds route at a Kingston Ferry Advisory meeting held in the North Kitsap Fire & Rescue headquarters.

The proposed schedule, which WSF personnel handed out to Kingston/Edmonds passengers onboard the ferries last week, cut two roundtrip runs to enable better on time performance (OTP) for crews.

Due to an influx of feedback, the proposed schedule for Jan 2009 is seeing some revision said David Remagen, WSF service planning manager, who attended the meeting. Revisions to the schedule are due to the printers by Nov. 18.

Since last week, WSF officials cut one more round trip run for a total of three cuts on the proposed schedule. This, Remagen said, was necessary to revise certain proposed sailing times to better accommodate those with child care needs and the late-night swing shift Boeing workers.

"The 6 o'clock boat we moved to 6:20 to allow more time for people with child and day care issues. That does change the wait time for Sounder (Train) riders and creates a longer wait now than some folks would like," Remagen said.

To create better OTP, the schedule has to be more flexible and with the ferry budget crisis, cutting three runs and slowing down boats to save in fuel cost can help with both plights, Remagen said.

According to Doug Russell, WSF's chief naval architect, WSF projects by cutting just two roundtrip runs and slowing down the boat speed during some runs, WSF could save 800 gallons of fuel each day.

Russel said with fuel prices varying between $3 and $4 a gallon, the savings works out between $2,400 and $3,200 a day — between $876,00 and $1,168,000 annually.

"It wouldn't mean slowing (the boats) down that much," Russell said, adding a normal 21- to 22-minute run would be slowed to a 26-minute run.

"We wouldn't slow down the runs that are tight especially like the commuter times where we have to meet with the Sounder Train. It would be evenings and middle of the day," he said.

Remagen said the average crossing time for the Kingston/Edmonds route is 21 minutes from pier to pier. That doesn't take into account the time it takes to drop the ramp for walk on passengers, which Remagen estimated takes four minutes on average.

The current schedule allows for 40 minutes of headway crossings; however, Remagen said that is too tight to maintain with mandated increased security measures, an increased number of vehicles loading on and off the ferries, increased ship traffic across the sound and an increase in unscheduled freight trains stopping in Edmonds.

Revisions to the proposed schedule runs separate sailing times Monday through Thursday and Friday through Sunday.

According to the revised schedule, boats meeting the Sounder Train in Edmonds leave from Kingston at 5:35 a.m., 6:20 a.m. and 7:05 a.m. Evening boats meeting with the Sounder Train leave from Edmonds at 4:45 p.m., 5:20 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

The last two boats to leave Edmonds Monday through Thursday are at 10:05 p.m. or at 11:55 p.m. The last two boats leaving Kingston are at 9:25 p.m. or at 11:05 p.m.

For Rebecca Bilbao, who commutes daily to Seattle, said although it was election night, it was important to her to attend the meeting.

"It's a pocketbook issue, it's a time issue," she said. "With the (proposed) schedule change it comes down to having to leave earlier and stay later. This (the revisions) is workable. I'm still worried about the connection times."

Pam Berglundh, who also commutes on the ferries daily voiced concern for people with disabilities who might not be able to hustle in time to catch the Sounder Train.

Berglundh also said with the current schedule consistently running late, it's hard for employers to rely on their workers arriving on time.

"It's about consistency for us so we can give our employers our dependable schedule," she said.

To see the revision of the proposed schedule handed out at Tuesday night's meeting, check the North Kitsap Herald Web site.

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