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West Seattle water taxi services will continue to operate year-round |  Washington

(The Center Square) – King County announced it will maintain year-round services on its water taxi to and from West Seattle.

During the fall and winter seasons prior to 2021, West Seattle County water taxi service was limited. The taxi route between West Seattle and Downtown Seattle would only operate during commute hours, with no midday service.

In September 2021, King County Water Taxi Services launched a pilot program that offered midday crossings while the West Seattle High Bridge was being repaired. The program was funded by the Seattle Department of Transportation.

As the water taxi pilot program continued year-round in 2022, the county found that ridership levels were sufficient to recommend continuing the crossings throughout the year.

Ongoing services are funded by the King County Marine Division. According to King County 2023-2024 Budgetabout $2.1 million is dedicated to providing consistent service throughout the year, including a permanent staff rather than a seasonal workforce, which the county says has caused retention issues and loss of trained employees in the past.

“The water taxi continues to provide a reliable and enjoyable ride as part of Seattle’s public transportation infrastructure,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. statement. “Maintaining service seven days a week creates a regular option that allows people to stay out of their cars and get where they need to go.”

Data from King County Metro shows that average weekday ridership rates on the West Seattle water taxi have remained somewhat stagnant. January 2023 saw 123 more weekday boardings than January 2022. However, from February to April, ridership rates decreased from 2022 to 2023.

The water taxi will ensure its services maintain a year-round sailing schedule at midday and weekends starting October 16. West Seattle Water Taxi adult fares are $5.75 each way, or $5 with an ORCA card. Users under 18 can travel for free.