Weekly update

Each week, WSDOT Assistant Secretary Patty Rubstello, the head of Washington State Ferries, emails an update to staff, colleagues and stakeholders. 

Steps to receive a WSF Weekly Update in your email inbox every Thursday:

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If you have suggestions or comments about the WSF Weekly Update, email WSFWeeklyUpdate@wsdot.wa.gov.

Each January, there is a special edition recapping the previous year. View the 2020 Year in Review (pdf 1.8 mb).

Here is the latest edition of the WSF Weekly Update:

Oct. 14, 2021

Temporary reduced service schedules starting Saturday, Oct. 16

First off, I want to thank our riders for their continued patience and understanding as we navigate through a worldwide shortage of mariners and the effects of the pandemic on our ability to crew our vessels. I know we provide a vital lifeline for many of the communities we serve and want to apologize for the recent unpredictability of our sailings as our dispatch team works around the clock to crew our vessels. To provide a more reliable travel experience, we made the difficult decision this week to temporarily operate reduced schedules on most routes beginning Saturday, Oct. 16.

Photo of ferry crewmembers working while vessel is docked
Throughout the pandemic, many of our fleet employees have been coming to work on days off, giving up vacations and answering the call to maintain essential ferry service.

Check our online sailing schedules as they will change from their current timetables on the following routes starting Saturday, Oct. 16:

  • Seattle/Bainbridge, Edmonds/Kingston and Mukilteo/Clinton: One-boat service instead of two
  • Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth: Daily two-boat schedule instead of three
  • Anacortes/San Juan Islands: Daily three-boat schedule instead of four with no vehicle reservations

Additional sailings may be provided depending on crewing levels and we will evaluate returning additional boats back into service as conditions change. Check our travel alert bulletins and Twitter page for the latest updates on service by route.

Although COVID-19 has not allowed us to hire or train new recruits at the same rate as prior to the pandemic, we’re brought on more than 100 new crewmembers this year. Prior to COVID-19, we hired new crewmembers once a year leading into the busy season. We’re now continuously recruiting new employees, but struggling to find qualified mariners. We are also expanding our recruitment efforts with maritime academies across the country.

Help choose our next sailing schedule cover

You have one more day to help select our #FerryFotoContest winners! We've posted our six finalists a couple times on our @wsferries Twitter page this week. “Like” one of them or “like” them all! The top three images with the most “likes” at noon Friday, Oct. 15, will be named the winners and their photographs will be featured on our Winter 2022 sailing schedules!

Six photos of ferries
Three of these six finalists will be featured on the cover of our Winter 2022 sailing schedules! Vote for your favorite on our @wsferries Twitter page by noon tomorrow, Oct. 15.

Edmonds terminal holding lane closed weekdays

The right terminal holding lane on State Route 104/Edmonds Way approaching our Edmonds terminal tollbooths will be closed from 6 a.m. Mondays to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays. This weekly around the clock lane closure for City of Edmonds sewer work is scheduled to continue for several months. Both lanes will be open during peak ferry travel times.

Photo of SR 104 approaching Edmonds terminal tollbooths showing holding lane closure
The right ferry holding lane on SR 104 just before the tollbooths will be closed weekly from 6 a.m. Monday to 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Communications team wins big in TransComm Skills Contest

Kudos to our communications team for winning two out of the three awards that WSDOT received in the 2021 TransComm Skills Contest! This Weekly Update newsletter won in the “External Publication” category and the team’s Mukilteo Multimodal Ferry Terminal virtual grand opening video won in the “Video Production, External” category. The contest is conducted annually by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Committee on Transportation Communications.

Customer kudos

“[…] My wife got on the 7:30 sailing from Clinton to go to work, but had forgotten her cell phone (boat was loaded and about to launch). I rushed down there to try to get it to her, not knowing what to expect. […] The woman directing traffic [Terminal Attendant Chrystyl Levee Zwink] listened and then hollered to a worker on the boat [Able-Bodied Seaman Jason Dahl]. The two met and spoke briefly and I was able to tell them what kind of car she was in. […] About five minutes later my wife called to say that the worker found her and knocked on the window and gave her the phone.

This may seem like a small thing, but I was so pleased to see the human side of your crew in the way they responded to me. There was never any hesitation to help once they realized my situation and each one displayed kindness and an eagerness to help me out. […] This was truly an example of above and beyond customer service!”

-Mukilteo/Clinton customer

Patty Rubstello
Assistant Secretary, WSDOT/Ferries Division