Water Taxi expands winter schedule with SDOT funding 

This media release is cross-posted from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Blog.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) worked with King County Metro to reach an agreement which will provide increased King County water taxi service to and from West Seattle this fall and winter. Under this agreement, the West Seattle water taxi will continue to operate at summertime service levels from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.  

The Water Taxi’s summer sailing schedule was set to end on October 15, which would normally mean an end to mid-day and weekend sailings until next spring. However, this year the City of Seattle is providing the funding needed to maintain full daytime service from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. all winter long as repairs continue to the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.  

Thanks to SDOT funding, Water Taxi service this fall and winter will remain similar to the summer daytime schedule:  

  • Seven day a week service between Seacrest Park in West Seattle and Pier 50 downtown from approximately 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 
  • Ships will leave the dock every 35 minutes during weekday peak commute hours and every hour mid-day, evenings, and weekends.  
  • The expanded service will not include late night Friday and Saturday sailings after 7:00 p.m. 

The water taxi service will be part of an expansion of mobility options for people living in West Seattle and the Duwamish Valley beginning this fall, including more bus trips starting October 2. These improvements are funded by the 2020 Seattle Transit Measure, and will provide more frequent service on West Seattle Routes 50, 60, 120 and RapidRide C Line.

The West Seattle High-Rise Bridge remains on track to reopen in mid-2022. The bridge was closed in March 2020 after city engineers discovered rapidly growing cracks in multiple locations. SDOT crews immediately set to work on emergency stabilization work which halted the cracks from growing larger and kept the bridge standing, but additional work is needed to further strengthen the bridge to support the weight and stress of daily traffic. The City of Seattle will resume construction for the final phase of repairs later this year.   

Quotes:

“Since we first learned of the West Seattle Bridge closure, I have been focused on increasing mobility to and from the peninsula during this challenging. We have been looking at every available option to help people commute and navigate the bridge closure. I’m gratified we were able to work with King County to increase water taxi service this winter as residents return to commuting and the downtown.” – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan 

“As repairs to the West Seattle High Bridge continue, we must take advantage of every transit option available. The extension of Water Taxi service through the fall and winter provides a frequent and reliable connection between West Seattle and downtown. County and City collaboration such as this is essential to ensure we continue to get people where they need to go.” – King County Executive Dow Constantine

“We’ve heard loud and clear that the Water Taxi is a popular way to get to and from West Seattle, and an essential part of the plan to manage traffic on bridge detour routes. Providing King County Metro with the necessary funding to keep full daytime service levels all year long was a high priority.” – Sam Zimbabwe 

 “The West Seattle Bridge closure has been incredibly hard on all of us.  I’ve heard from constituents, who rely on the Water Taxi, how important regular and frequent service is.  Maintaining summer-level daytime Water Taxi service through the winter is just one of the ways that we are working together so people have more options to get on and off the peninsula.” – Seattle Council Member Lisa Herbold 

“This agreement means the Water Taxi will continue to provide critical service to the people of West Seattle. This is a challenging time for those of us impacted by the West Seattle Bridge closure, and we need every mobility option available to serve our communities. I am grateful that we will be able to continue ‘riding the waves’ to get where we need to go.”  – King County Councilmember Joe McDermott 

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