New passenger-only Southworth-Seattle fast ferry opens end of March; riders ride free in April

The new Southworth-Seattle fast ferry will open later this month

A new ferry route will set sail later this month, connecting Southworth, Kitsap County, with downtown Seattle, potentially easing the route to the Emerald City.

Kitsap Transit announced on Thursday that the new Southworth passenger-only high-speed ferry will depart on March 29th. On the M / V Enetai, the estimated travel time between Southworth and Seattle is 26 minutes but could be longer depending on dock availability.

The new route offers four round-trip trips to Seattle in the morning and five round-trip trips to Kitsap County in the afternoon, allowing commuters to board the busy downtown corridor for work later in the afternoon and sail home. The earliest sailing leaves Southworth Dock at 5:10 am while the last sailing leaves Seattle Pier 50 at 7:15 pm

“We are very pleased to offer a fast ferry service on our Southworth-Seattle route,” said John Clauson, Executive Director of Kitsap Transit, in a press release. “We are grateful to the Kitsap County voters who kicked off three high-speed ferry routes to downtown Seattle in 2016. Here we are – Mission accomplished!”

The Southworth Ferry Terminal, which has only a slip and transfer margin, is jointly operated by Kitsap Transit and Washington State Ferries (WSF), which requires some maneuvering of the schedules. According to the press release, the new route must “arrive, load and depart in a narrow window when the slip is not occupied by the WSF ferries”.

The new Southworth-Seattle fast ferry will open later this month

Kitsap Transit

To reduce the crowd, Kitsap Transit will limit capacity to 60 passengers per sail. The route will not operate on Saturdays as Kitsap Transit has suspended the Saturday crossing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of an opening ceremony, Kitsap Transit drivers will be able to ride the ferry for free throughout the month of April. Fare pick-up will resume as usual in May, costing $ 2 for a ticket to Seattle and $ 10 for a return trip to Southworth.

While the number of ferries has dropped to its lowest level in 50 years during the COVID-19 pandemic, the WSF has restored service on several routes. The number of drivers on the Fauntleroy / Southworth route decreased by 39% in 2020 while the number of vehicles decreased by 31%.

In December, a new multimodal ferry terminal opened in Mukilteo, the first new ferry terminal in the state in 40 years.

With more than four million drivers per year, the Mukilteo / Clinton route is one of the busiest routes on the WSF. As part of State Route 525, the ferry is an important corridor that connects Whidbey Island with the Seattle-Everett metropolitan area.