Pierce County Ferry riders are invited to learn about potential alternatives developed as part of the ferry system’s Waterborne Transportation Study at a May 14 public meeting on Anderson Island.
Alternatives regarding schedule changes, fare policies and ridership are being evaluated as part of the study. For example, changes such as operating direct runs to Anderson Island and Ketron Island, offering a reservation system, increasing the number of trips on the five-trip Value Pass, and introducing a new fare class for small cars are being considered. Current and future funding sources are also being discussed, as well as influencing behaviors of riders, such as increasing carpooling.
“We are focused on identifying changes that would meet our riders’ current and future needs while also considering the financial sustainability of the system,” said Deb Wallace, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator. “This meeting is a chance for our riders to learn about the options we are exploring and provide feedback to help us create a preferred alternative.”
The May 14 meeting will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Anderson Island Elementary School, 13005 Camus Road. There will be a formal presentation about the study, the results of two surveys taken by ferry customers and Anderson Island and Ketron Island property owners on how they use the ferry, and potential changes to service and fare policies.
Attendees will have the opportunity to visit informational booths and speak with staff from the Public Works and Utilities Airport and Ferry Division and BERK Consulting, which was hired to lead the study on the county’s behalf.
To request a special accommodation at the meeting, attendees should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Those that are unable to attend the meeting can submit comments at www.piercecountywa.org/ferry.
Using input from the meeting, a draft plan describing the preferred alternative will be developed and presented for comment at a public meeting that will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. June 11 at the Anderson Island Elementary School. The final plan is expected to be complete in Summer 2015.
About the study
During the study, which started in November 2014, the county, BERK Consulting, and a study advisory group began analyzing population and demographic changes projected through 2034, identifying changes to service that would enhance island economic vitality and livability, evaluating the financial sustainability of the system, and evaluating the system’s 14-year capital needs.
The status of the ferry system was assessed to understand the system’s history and outlook, and identify key challenges and opportunities for the future. The consultant also analyzed population and ridership, fare structure and ticketing system technology, the system’s finances, and service including vessels, terminals and operations.
The system was last analyzed by the 2003 Waterborne Transportation Study.
The Pierce County Ferry System provides service between the town of Steilacoom and Anderson and Ketron islands. Visit www.piercecountywa.org/ferry to learn more about the study.
Deb Wallace, Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator
Anne Radford, Public Works and Utilities public information officer