King County Water Taxi recognized for innovation and efficiency

Denmark, Italy, Newfoundland, Spain, Washington – wait, what? While this could easily be an alphabetical list of random locations, it’s actually where a few of the Best Passenger Ships of 2015 are located.

According to Marine Log, an international publication out of New York City, the MV Sally Fox, the first of two new water taxi ferries recently acquired by the King County’s Marine Division, is one of nine vessels worldwide to receive this honor.

It does so because the ship and its crew are focused on providing passengers with an efficient passenger experience. One that makes it possible for people to commute without the headache or hassle of traffic congestion.

“Our schedule reliability is over 99%,” said Paul Brodeur, King County Marine Division Director. “Ridership has increased year after year, with over 515,000 passengers last year.”

“People are starting to catch on to it because it’s reliable, convenient and offers friendly customer service.”

With the expansion of Seattle and the surrounding metropolitan area, King County’s need for innovative, timely transportation services continues. Named after activist Sally Fox, who fought for legislation regarding the maintaining of passenger-only ferry service between Seattle and Vashon Island, the water taxi is changing the travel game for commuters from all over Puget Sound.

“Here in Seattle, how people commute is changing drastically,” said Deckhand Jay White. “The population is changing in several ways – diversity, socioeconomic – and we are filling in a gap that wasn’t there before.”

“In coordination with bus lines and the light rail, this is where a high speed passenger vessel comes in.”

The Sally Fox measures 105 feet long and can seat 278 passengers. It has twin 1,800 horse power engines and travels at 28 knots, or roughly 32 miles an hour, from Vashon Island to downtown Seattle. It was built by Bellingham based All American Marine, with collaboration from a New Zealand firm to design a wave piercing hull that would help the ship move more efficiently and allow passengers a smoother ride.

A well-built passenger vessel impacts the commute of its riders, but it also affects the entire community. Water taxi staff connect with their passengers, and as they come and go, year after year, these relationships become part of every-day life. Jay values these interactions for both their personal nature and the sign of something larger.

“There is a sense of community because we get to know the passengers well, often by first name,” said Jay. “I know whole families. It’s great to see the growth of the community, and the process of growth for our city and the area.”

Paul confirms this feeling and stresses that it’s one of the many reasons the King County Water Taxi has received this noteworthy honor.

“It is like a family with our commuters, and part of that is due to the high level of customer service our crews provide,” added Paul. “We are on time and we are reliable. The waterways are not congested like our highways are.”

“The Water Taxi is a great alternative and as a County we’re all about opportunities and providing alternatives. We’re focused on giving people those alternatives within our services in every aspect.”

For more information about the King County Water Taxi and its impressive service highlights view this informative poster or read a list of Water Taxi FAQs.

Marine Log specializes in shipping, shipbuilding, offshore, maritime security and marine engineering information, and does not award the title of Best Passenger Ship lightly. Vessels are considered for this title based on innovation, materials, efficiency, power and the overall passenger experience. Click here to view the January 2016 issue of Marine Log which features the world famous MV Sally Fox, page 29.

— By Lilia Cabello Drain, King County Employee News