Ridership soars as passengers flock to state ferries for holiday weekend

Nearly 8 million people have used the Washington State Ferries, more than the population of the State of Washington, to commute since Memorial Day weekend. It’s expected an additional 350,000 people will add to that number over the Labor Day holiday.

The ferry system has seen a continual rise in ridership over the last few years with June, July and August representing more than one-third of all yearly passengers.

“Our vessels and most importantly our crews work tirelessly during the summer months to ensure our iconic ferries serve the growing communities from both sides of Puget Sound,” said Amy Scarton, WSF assistant secretary. “Holiday weekends are some of our busiest and we appreciate the support and understanding from our ferry riders this weekend as they climb aboard.”

Peak travels times on most WSF routes are expected for westbound travel beginning as early as Thursday, Aug. 30, and eastbound Monday, Sept. 3, as people return from their weekend getaways.

Travel tips

Those venturing out to sea or land can use several WSF tools to “know before you go” as well as keep updated throughout the trip.

To reduce or eliminate wait times, ferry customers may consider walking aboard. Passenger capacity is far greater than vehicle capacity on all WSF ferries.

Drivers should also plan ahead for increased congestion on highways as they make their way to the ferry terminals with real-time traffic information on the WSDOT traffic app for their mobile device.

WSF has carried more than 16 million people since Jan. 1. The vessels operate more than 20 hours a day, 365 days a year.