The overhead passenger loading ramp is nearing completion at the new Mukilteo ferry terminal that opened in late December. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

The overhead passenger loading ramp is nearing completion at the new Mukilteo ferry terminal that opened in late December. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Got a ferry question or comment? Have your say this week

Topics for Tuesday and Wednesday online talks with ferry execs include service, COVID and hybrid vessels.

MUKILTEO — Here’s a tip when taking a ferry:

Pack snacks.

Though some restaurants on land have resumed indoor dining, the galleys on ferries likely won’t reopen anytime soon.

“Right now, it’s too early for that,” Washington State Ferries spokesperson Ian Sterling said.

Ditto for putting the jigsaw puzzles back on the tables.

Your can bring questions and comments about whatever floats your boat to virtual community meetings Tuesday at 11 a.m. and Wednesday at 6 p.m. (Details below.)

Patty Rubstello, the new head of the state ferry system, will lead the talks with former head Amy Scarton. Both meetings will cover the same material. Topics for discussion include service, COVID-19 response and hybrid-electric vessels.

The ferry system has been hit by the pandemic. Sailings were cut back due to decreased passengers or canceled for lack of available staff. Stay-home orders deem the boats as for essential travel only.

Loudspeakers advise riders to stay in their cars. This decreases contact and allows walk-ons to have more space to social distance.

Face coverings have been required since last year. The recent federal mask mandate on mass transit adds “more teeth,” Sterling said.

Overall ridership, though down from previous years, is expected to pick up as the weather warms. Last year, the Mukilteo-Clinton route connecting Mukilteo in Snohomish County to Clinton on Whidbey Island carried the most customers in the state ferry system.

At the dazzling new Mukilteo terminal, which opened Dec. 29, the passenger loading ramp is nearing completion and the elevators should be in service soon.

A temporary road is in place until the permanent one is finished. To fix some traffic issues, more striping and arrows on the road and signs were added.

The terminal has a “kiss-and-go” lane to drop people off. No dilly-dallying allowed.

“We’re not in the parking lot business,” Sterling said. “This isn’t different than a lot of other ferry terminals. In fact, it would be an anomaly to have a whole bunch of parking.”

Visitors can park for up to four hours at the city’s paid spaces on streets near the Mukilteo terminal and at Lighthouse Park. The ferry website advises those wanting to stay longer to leave the car at park-and-ride lots in Everett or Lynnwood and use transit to get to the terminal.

Stop at Ivar’s before you get into the holding lanes.

A food vendor has not yet been selected to set up a food cart or kiosk at the new terminal.

If you get hungry at sea, don’t panic.

Snacks are available at vending machines on board. And the ride is only 20 minutes.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

How to register

• 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, meeting: bit.ly/WSFWinterMeeting1

• 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, meeting: bit.ly/WSFWinterMeeting2

The day after each meeting, a video recording will be available online on the webpage.

Talk to us

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