By Bill Sheets
Starting Wednesday, drivers who want to travel between Whidbey Island and the Olympic Peninsula will be able to make a reservation on the ferry.
Reservations will be available for drivers of all cars and trucks on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route and for business and commercial vehicles on the routes serving the San Juan Islands from Anacortes. Drivers may make reservations for travel as early as Sunday, June 17.
The state ferries’ Save A Spot reservation system went into effect June 4 on the Anacortes-Sidney, B.C. route.
“I’m very pleased with how things have gone with the new reservations system so far,” state ferries chief David Moseley said. He said 3,000 people made reservations the first week alone.
In addition to convenience, state officials say the reservation service will reduce traffic congestion on roads leading to terminals; reduce air pollution from idling vehicles; save money by easing the need for terminal expansion and save the state money on traffic control and holding-area maintenance.
Riders on the Port Townsend-Coupeville route have been asking for the service, said George Capacci, deputy director of operations and construction for the ferry system.
Features of the system include the ability to make reservations up to six months in advance; flexibility to change or cancel a reservation with no penalty up until 24 hours prior to sailing; and electronic account options for faster transactions.
Reservations require a deposit that is folded into the fare at the time of travel. The deposit is equal to the fare for a senior or disabled driver and vehicle, which for Port Townsend-Coupeville currently is $11.20.
About 80 percent of the car deck on Port Townsend-Coupeville ferries will be made available for reservations this summer. All of the vehicle deck is available for advance reservations on the Anacortes-Sidney, B.C. route.
To make reservations, the ferry system’s website or call 888-808-7977.