WSF cuts back on staff at terminals

"Public input at a series of Tariff Policy Committee meetings conducted earlier this year led Washington State Ferries to cut staffing levels at terminals, according to WSF spokesman Susan Harris-Huether.Cutbacks have been enforced at the Kingston, Southworth and Point Defiance terminals.We were told during these public meetings that we were overstaffed at the terminals, Harris-Huether said. With fares going up this summer we wanted to let customers know we are putting in some efficiencies.The staffing changes, she said, will stay in effect through June 16. WSF officials plan to evaluate the changes and make more staffing decisions in time for implementation this fall.Harris-Huether said many ferry commuters told WSF officials increased fares would be easier to deal with if they coincided with increased efficiencies.WSF officials are restricted by U.S. Coast Guard regulations and the state Legislature from adjusting on-board staffing levels or the number of hours employees work. But at terminals, Harris-Huether said, WSF officials have more leeway. Among the changes:* At Southworth, only one of two toll booths is staffed after 9:30 a.m. * Traffic attendants no longer work the Point Defiance terminal on weekends and evenings. Crewmembers aboard the vessels direct traffic.* At Kingston, only two of the three available toll booths are open after 11:40 a.m.* Walk-on passengers at Edmonds board ferries via the car deck on evening runs, directed by an on board auto attendant. The overhead walk-on ramp is closed for the 11:10 p.m. sailing Monday through Friday and the 11:45 p.m. sailing on weekends.WSF officials don't expect to lay off any employees, but staff members with less seniority could work fewer hours or switch shifts. WSF also doesn't plan to hire additional terminal help for the summer. Cutbacks were targeted to runs with limited ridership and where duties could be reassigned easily.Cutbacks also have been enacted at the Anacortes, Mukilteo and Clinton terminals. "

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