MUKILTEO — That Whidbey Island or Kitsap Peninsula weekend just got a little more wonderful.
The Mukilteo-Clinton ferry route has resumed two-boat service after two months of one boat doing it all on weekends. Service on the Edmonds-Kingston run is also back to two boats.
Washington State Ferries’ two busiest vehicle routes have been operating with only one of their usual two vessels on Saturdays and Sundays since June due to a lack of workers needed to meet U.S. Coast Guard safety requirements. Weekday service was not disrupted.
Weekend riders have endured waits of multiple hours. Wait times on weekends are normally long during the busy summer season, even with two boats.
Boats will leave Mukilteo and Clinton every half hour for the 20-minute sailing. On the Edmonds-Kingston route, service is about every 50 minutes on either side for the 30-minute crossing.
Travelers are advised to stay in their cars and must mask up while on deck. The snack bar is closed and the jigsaw puzzles are gone from the tables. Restrooms are open.
Since late March, more than 100 high-risk vessel and terminal employees have been unavailable due to the pandemic. New hires were unable to undergo mandatory face-to-face training until June.
“Over the past month, we welcomed 16 new crew members and 10 terminal attendants and actively worked with existing employees to increase staffing availability,” Washington State Ferries Director of Operations Greg Faust said in a news release. “We’re now at a point that we can incrementally increase service and are working to restore sailings on additional routes in the weeks ahead.”
A two-boat schedule seven days a week on the Seattle-Bainbridge Island route is to start Aug. 30. Other routes will increase service as ridership demands and crewing availability allow.
Riders can check a real-time schedule online or through the WSDOT app.
Andrea Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.