Traffic was down on state ferries traveling to and from Anacortes during the Labor Day weekend.
Justin Fujioka, a ferries spokesman, said traffic on WSF’s fleet statewide was down about 3% compared to last year.
About 490,000 people traveled on a Washington State Ferries vessel between Thursday, Aug. 29, and Tuesday, Sept. 3. That’s less than the 500,000 estimated, for the long weekend, he said.
The Anacortes terminal parking lot filled up Sunday, but even so, foot traffic was down as a whole out of this terminal, Fujioka said.
“The number of passengers were down 10% from previous years,” Fujioka said.
This year as a whole has been a slower one for WSF, although it’s not clear why. “We are just down as a system,” he said.
Part of it came from the snowstorms in February. “That was a big hit for us,” Fujioka said.
Even going into the summer, things are slower, but just slightly. Most routes are down around 3% this year, he said.
There have been no major service outages this summer on the Anacortes routes, Fujioka said. The five-boat summer season for Anacortes will end Sept. 28, and the ferries will switch to their fall schedule.
That means only four vessels will travel to and from Anacortes, and the trips to Sidney, B.C., will be reduced to just one per day.
Ferries staff are also looking into contingency plans in case of emergency repairs. The M/V Elwha is in dry dock getting some steel deck repair. The repairs are far more extensive and expensive than planned, and the boat will likely be out until early next year, Fujioka said. That means fewer vessels to cover if a vessel needs emergency repairs, he said.
“We may have to juggle around the boats we have left,” Fujioka said.