A Comparison of Operational Performance: Washington State Ferries to Ferry Operators Worldwide

This project compares eight measures of performance related to transit service quality (e.g. trip reliability, on-time departures) and cost-efficiency (e.g. farebox recovery, subsidy per passenger) between Washington State Ferries (WSF) and 23 ferry operators worldwide. The project will discuss how setting targets and/or benchmarks for performance can advance government accountability for public services provided. The purpose was to use operational characteristics such as asset and traffic data to demonstrate where WSF ranks amongst peers in the ferry industry and to provide a reproducible basis for future comparisons.

Contact information and data was input into spreadsheets, having been gathered using e-mail questionnaires, phone interviews and extensive data mining. A profile will detail WSF and include a background of ferry transportation on the Puget Sound and the policy environment surrounding its current operations. Several peers in the industry, including British Columbia Ferries and the Alaska Marine Highway System, will be identified further with their respective policy and operational strategies discussed and 2009 performance analyzed. The project will find top ten annual rankings that include vessels and terminals operated and passengers and vehicles transported, and will analyze the results of the performance measures chosen.

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Publication Number: 
WA-RD 750.1
Last modified: 
01/16/2019 - 16:50
Michael Dean Bennion.
University of Washington. Evans School of Public Affairs
Number of Pages: 
Ferry service, Operations, Benchmarks, Transit operating agencies, Performance, Marine transit, Ferries, Quality of service, Ranking, Level of service.