Passenger ferries could run every half hour

"Kitsap Transit is still waiting for a final decision from Washington State Ferries before it changes its schedule to accommodate the Chinook and Snohomish foot ferries.Ferry officials were waiting to see if a normally automatic 20-day waiting period, required after all court decisions to process paperwork, would apply to the state ferry system. But, as Kitsap Transit spokesman Doug Johnson pointed out, that waiting period is already almost over.A March 16 decision by the state Supreme Court lifted an injunction which had prevented the two fast foot ferries from moving at top speed. That injunction had been imposed last summer by King County Superior Court Judge Glenna Hall after a lawsuit by a consortium of Kitsap beachfront property owners claimed that wakes from the two boats were destroying beaches and bulkheads.For several months, the Chinook and Snohomish have been travelling at 12 miles per hour instead of their peak speed of 34 mph.The ferry service sent five proposed schedules to Kitsap Transit, each with minor revisions to current schedules. Johnson said he's been holding off on creating a new bus schedule.So far, it appears there will be a foot ferry leaving Seattle about every half hour, he said.It's pretty frequent service. That's good if you live in Seattle. If you miss one, you don't have to wait long, he said.The complication with creating a bus schedule to accommodate new ferry runs comes in ferries arriving at different times. Two sets of ferries requires two sets of buses, he said.Fortunately, it looks like two ferries will be arriving at the same time during peak hours, allowing Kitsap Transit to schedule one bus to meet them, Johnson said.A potential problem with the foot ferries involves the last run of the day: the ferry leaving Seattle at 7:20 p.m. and arriving in Bremerton around 7:50 p.m. The ferry might arrive too close to the end of service for the buses.We may not be able to service that one, Johnson said. We'd like to, but we can't with I-695. It's too expensive.Once the ferry service comes up with a plan, Johnson said Kitsap Transit will decide on a schedule and notify commuters.I imagine it'll be the week after next, he said. I'm hoping ... they keep pushing it back."

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