MUKILTEO — The Mukilteo-Clinton ferry route was downsized by 60 vehicles Monday morning when the 64-car M/V Salish took the place of the 124-car M/V Kitsap.
The Kitsap was moved to the route between Seattle, Vashon Island and Southworth when a vessel on that route was removed for planned maintenance, Washington State Ferries spokesperson Ian Sterling said.
Drivers were encouraged to arrive at the terminals early, according to a statement from the ferry system. Sterling hopes a larger vessel will be back on the Mukilteo route within a “week or two.”
“It’s the lesser of all evils, it’s not the greatest situation,” Sterling said. “There’s truly just not enough boats.”
There are only 14 out of 21 boats available to run a system that usually takes 15. This is due to a lack of funding in the past, which caused the ferry system to fall behind on building new boats, Sterling said.
“There’s been years of under funding,” Sterling said. “It took us a while to get here, and it’ll take us a while to get out.”
The 144-car M/V Tokitae is the other vessel running the Mukilteo-Clinton route.
The Edmonds-Kingston route went back to one-boat service Monday morning. Before the weekend, it had been running on one-boat service since late October, when a larger boat moved to fill in on a Seattle route.
During the winter, the Mukilteo-Clinton route is typically served by a 144-car Olympic class boat and a 124-class Issaquah boat. The route is currently downsized to one Olympic and one Kwa-di Tabil-class boat, which usually carry 64 vehicles.