Final Schedule: No Change, No Pendulum
As we said earlier this week, we did get a working session with WSF schedulers on December 17th. It was not the meeting we hoped for, but we were hopeful. Unfortunately, WSF has now published the final spring schedule. It contains no changes from the one presented at the December 12th meeting.
No Fix: So Now We Demand Delay
We took a compromise stance that has now been rejected. There are two major flaws in the schedule that needed fixing and WSF has refused to tackle them. The next step is to follow through on our "fix or delay" strategy. Since there's no fix, we need to delay implementation of that schedule. Over the next few weeks we will be working to build a campaign to delay the schedule in March. We will likely be convening a committee of key people on Vashon to construct the campaign strategy. Vashon folks have a way of getting organized for action, the December 12th meeting being only the latest example. Please stand by and we'll be back to you.
What Are the Two Flaws?
One flaw is the 4:10pm sailing from Fauntleroy. As you know, a Vashon resident boarding that boat would reach Vashon at 5:00pm on the currently proposed schedule. Yet the 4:35pm sailing would get the customer to Vashon ten minutes earlier at 4:50pm. Ten minutes (or 50 minutes) may not seem like a big deal. But this schedule anomaly would have a much bigger effect than that. A customer boarding the 4:10pm would likely get in line at 3:30pm or thereabouts. That means they will have no option and will have to get on the 4:10pm boat which will get them home ten minutes later plus the wasted time waiting on Fauntleroy Way. The net effect will be to waste a boat as customers attempt to work around this conundrum.
Another issue is the 50% cut of evening Vashon sailings from eight to four. This will have all sorts of effects that you can probably imagine. It will take longer to get ambulances back in service on the Island. Island restaurants and Vashon Center for the Arts, to name just two examples, will lose business because customers can't get back to the mainland. Workers from Vashon Care Center, our grocery stores, our hardware stores, the restaurants and so on will have long days because they will not be able to get a boat back to the mainland in a timely manner. That will be more than merely inconvenient because it will make it very hard to recruit workers. In all, we believe this cut in service could easily have a devastating economic impact in the millions of dollars for Vashon.
Many, many thanks to 260 Vashon folks who turned out for the December 12th meeting of the Triangle Task Force and the three community Advisory Committees. We showed WSF that we care about this place and made the point that ferries are Vashon's only road.
To get a sense of the overflow crowd, here's the live shot from that night's news on KIRO7: https://kiro.tv/2zTPbrV