Kitsap Transit is missing the ferry boat

Trying to get from one place to another at the mercy of forces beyond your control is incredibly frustrating. Thankfully, most of us only have to worry about that when we’re hopping airplanes in lands faraway. For commuters in Kingston, however, missing the bus is part of the daily routine.

During commute hours, those who crave the small-town, homey feel of Kitsap County but have jobs in Seattle use a broad spectrum of transportation devices to get to work and back.

Drive the car to the bus, board the bus to the ferry, ride the ferry to the next bus and off to the office they go. On the way home, it’s the same, in the exact reverse order. If one chain in that link breaks, the entire system is tanked.

For Kingston residents like Betsy Cooper — a commuter who’s spent more time on the road than Jack Kerouac — this happens quite often on the Kingston side of the Kingston/Edmonds commute. The route times for the Kitsap Transit bus some commuters rely on to get from the ferry to their cars runs once every hour. But it rarely matches up with the ferry runs.

Passengers from the ferry either have to sprint to the bus stop, which is located in the parking lot adjacent to J’aime Les Crepes, or wait for the next bus to come rolling along. For those who are unable to sprint — passengers in wheelchairs, for instance — they just have to wait.

The bus stop is in its current, inconvenient location because those who drop off/pick up ferry passengers were blocking the way for busses to get to the ferries.

It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

And it probably does.

“There are a number of folks that use the bus just to get to their cars up at the park and rides,” Cooper said. “One of the major things is if (the bus) isn’t there it doesn’t allow people to get to Albertson’s to get to their cars.”

For those who are looking for a bit of exercise, it’s about a 2.5 mile trek from the ferry to the car. That’s fine ... on one of the 30 or so days per year we see the sunshine in the Pacific Northwest. Otherwise, it’s not a fun option.

With all the talk of being green, reducing pollution, getting more cars off the road and getting people to use public transportation, it’s the frustrations like this that prevent people from even trying.

Yes, it’s frustrating for commuters traveling alone to be at the mercy of bus schedules. But what about a mom with one kid in a car seat, one in a stroller and one with an iPod battery that’s about to die? That would be plain miserable.

If public transportation folks and the Washington State Ferries want more ridership, they should fix the little things.

Bus schedules should make an attempt to line up with ferry schedules. Bus riders shouldn’t have to search for bus stops.

Little tweaks in the system would encourage folks to use public transportation. Then and only then will it be easy being green.

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