Weekly update

Read the weekly update WSDOT Assistant Secretary Patty Rubstello, the head of Washington State Ferries, sends to staff, colleagues and stakeholders.

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Each January, there is a special edition recapping the previous year. View the 2022 Year in Review (PDF 1.7MB).

Here is the latest edition of the WSF Weekly Update:

Nov. 30, 2023

Thankful to employees who worked over Thanksgiving weekend

Happy holidays! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! While many of us spent the long weekend with loved ones, many of our employees were hard at work making sure our customers got to and from their holiday destinations safely. Our marine operations watch supervisors, dispatchers, terminal staff, vessel crews, engineers and Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility employees who worked over the Thanksgiving weekend all deserve our thanks and recognition.

Three people in safety vests enjoy a meal alongside a table full of various Thanksgiving dishes
Thank you to all my colleagues who worked over Thanksgiving weekend to maintain our vital transportation service. Between sailings, Coupeville terminal staff, including Emily Kyle, Traci Loftis and Mario Falso, enjoyed a potluck holiday meal with their work family.

Without the hard work and dedication of our employees, we would not have been able to carry more than 272,000 people from Nov. 22-26. That’s an increase of nearly 54,000 from the previous Wednesday through Sunday and more than 12,000 more than the same holiday period in 2022.

Vessel waste audit

Members of our Office of Sustainability and Environmental Services, Seattle Public Utilities, our galley vendor Sodexo and waste management company Recology recently did a waste audit at Colman Dock. The audit covered all waste generated by our three ferries serving our Seattle terminal over a 24-hour period, which totaled more than 1,100 pounds! The goal was to gain clues on the public and staff general waste disposal and collection behaviors. The data will be used to make recommendations for our upcoming waste management plan to reduce waste, recycle, reuse and compost. Our Sustainability Action Plan: 2023-2025 (PDF 1.7MB) outlines our efforts to be a zero waste organization.

Three people sorting bags of waste
The waste was separated into three piles: public receptacles in and around the galley, back-of-the-house galley not accessible to the public and everything else on the vessels. The piles were then sorted into landfill, recyclables and compost. 

Late night sailings in and out of Southworth terminal canceled Dec. 7-8

The following five sailings are canceled late Thursday night, Dec. 7, through early Friday morning, Dec. 8, for overnight maintenance work at our Southworth terminal:

  • 11:50 p.m. and 1:05 a.m. Fauntleroy to Southworth
  • 12:15 and 1:30 a.m. Vashon to Southworth
  • 12:35 a.m. Southworth to Fauntleroy

For travelers heading to Southworth, the scheduled 11 p.m. out of Vashon and 11:35 p.m. Fauntleroy departure will be the last for the night. The final sailing out of Southworth will at 11:20 p.m. to Fauntleroy then Vashon. To complete the terminal maintenance work, the same sailings will be canceled on two more weeknights over the next month or two.

Customer kudos

“We had a memorial service for my mother […] on the 7:55 sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge […]. I want to share my gratitude for the staff who supported my family. Everyone from Zale [Noah, customer program coordinator] helping with the reservation process, the attendant at the booth who radioed to the waiting lot attendant, that attendant who communicated information and paid special attention to how we loaded onto the boat, and the crew who provided support on the way over, the captain who sounded blasts to help memorialize, and the thoughtful certificate we didn’t expect that had coordinates of where the boat stopped for us. The ferry crew even helped one car in our party stay on the boat for immediate sailing back to Seattle.

“Everyone offered top notch customer service and was so thoughtful and respectful. I’m incredibly grateful for their service and for how every detail was looked after making a seamless experience for my family and allowed us to focus on the task at hand. […] I know how short staffed and stretched thin everyone is which makes the attention paid even more meaningful.”

-Seattle/Bainbridge customer

Patty Rubstello
Assistant Secretary, WSDOT/Ferries Division

Slow down on ice and snow.

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Carry chains, practice installing them.

Winter conditions could mean chains are required on your route. Practice putting them on your vehicle ahead of time.

Pack your winter car kit.

Carry extra supplies like warm clothing, ice scraper and brush, jumper cables and other emergency items.