Fitzgibbon’s ferry performance measure bill passes House

OLYMPIA – Building on a recent study of Fauntleroy ferry service by the University of Washington’s Evans School, the House today passed a bill that adds and expands performance measures of specific concern to the Vashon and Southworth routes.

Sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-West Seattle, House Bill 1189 requires the Washington State Department of Transportation, Ferries Division, to recommend performance measures consistent with the recently completed 2040 ferry system Long-Range Plan and the University of Washington study on improving operations at the Fauntleroy dock. This could include data on how often vessels are full when they sail, and how frequently vehicles are left on the dock when a vessel departs.

“The challenges at the Fauntleroy ferry dock are a frequent frustration and inconvenience to riders, especially those who commute from Vashon and Southworth,” Fitzgibbon said. “The Evans School study was an important first step, and my bill takes the next step by getting the data we need to solve these challenges.”

Fitzgibbon represents the 34th Legislative District, which includes West Seattle and Vashon and Maury Islands. The district is heavily dependent on the state ferry system for commuting as well as tourism. Long queues at the crowded Fauntleroy dock and vessels departing without being fully loaded have significantly impacted Vashon and Southworth ferry riders, and this problem has worsened in recent years.

Fitzgibbon’s seatmates, Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, and Sen. Joe Nguyen, D-White Center, are supportive of House Bill 1189 as well.

“I appreciate the hard work done by Rep. Fitzgibbon to take the information gathered by the Legislature and the Evan’s School and turn that into legislative action to hopefully improve loading procedures at Fauntleroy dock. We will continue exploring options and having conversations to improve the ferry experience,” Cody said.

“When you live on an island, the ferry system is the most important road you have. These performance measures will prioritize what matters most, ensuring high utilization for the people that rely on this critical service,” Nguyen said

The bill passed 79 to 16, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.