A puzzle is back on a ferry table on the Mukilteo-Clinton route. Community jigsaw puzzles, a popular passenger pastime on most routes, were removed during the pandemic. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

A puzzle is back on a ferry table on the Mukilteo-Clinton route. Community jigsaw puzzles, a popular passenger pastime on most routes, were removed during the pandemic. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Your chance to quiz those who are running the ferry system

Washington State Ferries is holding another round of virtual meetings for updates and questions.

MUKILTEO — Here’s your chance to talk to those steering the state ferry system.

Leaders of Washington State Ferries are holding virtual meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The talks will include summer schedules, hiring challenges and the agency’s process to restore service to pre-pandemic levels. Participants will be able to ask questions and provide comments during the meeting.

“Like many transportation agencies we are still not back to pre-COVID service levels,” agency head Patty Rubstello said in a news release. “These meetings are intended to provide our customers with insight about the coming months and respond to questions and concerns.”

There have been strides in sea travel.

A group of 18 new deckhands and 14 terminal employees started training last week, which should eventually help delays and cancellations due to staff shortages.

In May, two-boat service resumed on the Mukilteo-Clinton run with sailings from each dock every 30 minutes instead of hourly, that is, when all goes well. The busy route had been operating on an alternate schedule, with many days having only one boat between the mainland and Whidbey Island. Even with two boats, waits can be long during peak times.

Edmonds-Kingston and Port Townsend-Coupeville runs are still on alternate boat service schedules, meaning some days have one boat and others two.

Community jigsaw puzzles, a popular passenger pastime, are back on the tables. Masks are optional. The galley is open on some routes. Vending machines offer snacks to tide you over.

Bottom line: Check the WSDOT app or online for real time schedules. Pack treats and toys for the kids and pets. Be patient.

The meetings are 1 p.m. Tuesday and 6 p.m. Wednesday. Both sessions will cover the same material.

Virtual meetings are held several times a year to get input and offer updates. Registration is required to participate but not to listen. The day after each meeting, a video recording will be online.

For more details, and links to register, go to wsdot.wa.gov/travel/washington-state-ferries/about-us/community-participation.

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

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