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Passenger ferry saga continues
Being a former commuter from Kingston to Seattle (I quit riding ferries in order to find employment near home), this little project of a foot ferry from Kingston to Coleman Dock has been on my mind for quite some time. Washington State Ferries lost the opportunity to put a foot ferry in place with the passage of Initiative 695. This initial threat to future ferry funding is why I actually ceased commuting. Thus, however, began the saga of finding another way to transport commuters from Kingston directly to Seattle.
Fast forward a few years and the diligent efforts of many Kingston citizens and the Port of Kingston paid off with the advent of the Aqua Express project. Aqua Express thought they had this route all worked out until they found that they really didn’t. I can’t remember how long the service actually lasted but I believe it was less than a year before the project gave up the ghost.
Now remember, Aqua Express was a private enterprise, designed not only to provide a service but turn a profit at some point. I assume that there must have been some serious thought put into operational costs, ridership, etc. before service ensued. However, predictions apparently did not stand up to reality as that service was cancelled in a relatively short period of time.
Fast forward one more time and due to increased diligence on the behalf of Kingston’s Port we now own a ferry service or rather we own two ferry boats; service suspended indefinitely after a brief few months loaded with engine trouble, bad weather, docking issues, low returns, high costs, etc. Service might resume eventually but now there is the idea of pleasure cruises (minimum 100 riders, if you please). This may seem tragic and somewhat heartbreaking but not unforeseeable to those who may actually own a boat. I am no expert and have never owned a boat of my own but I do know two things that every boat owner has ever said to me:
1. A boat is just a hole in the water to throw money into.
2. The two best days of boat ownership is when you purchase it and when you sell it.
At least Kingston has one more good day of boat ownership to look forward to.