Pierce County Ferry riders are invited to take a survey during each of their sailings on March 17, 19, 21 and 22 to share information about their trip as part of the ferry system’s Waterborne Transportation Study.The origin and destination survey will be passed out on sailings starting at noon March 17 and 19, and on all sailings on March 21 and 22. The surveys should be returned before or as riders disembark. Riders will be asked for information such as the reason for their trip, what type of fare they purchased, how they boarded the ferry, and how they will reach their ultimate destination.
“We want to learn more about our riders and how they use the Pierce County Ferry,” said Deb Wallace, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities airport and ferry administrator. “This information will help us as we evaluate potential alternatives for the system during the study.”
Residents of Anderson and Ketron islands, along with those who own property on the islands, will be asked to take a separate survey online by March 27 to share information about household demographics, how they use the ferry, and current ferry service. These individuals will soon receive a postcard with instructions on how to access that survey.
About the Waterborne Transportation Study
During the Waterborne Transportation Study, the consultant will analyze population and demographic changes projected through 2034, identify changes to service that would enhance island economic vitality and livability, evaluate the financial sustainability of the system, and evaluate the system’s 14-year capital needs. The study and resulting plan are expected to be complete in early summer 2015.
The study will be completed in three phases. In Phase 1, which started in late November and lasted through February, the current status of the ferry system was assessed to understand the system’s history and outlook, and identify key challenges and opportunities for the future. The county analyzed population and ridership, fare structure and ticketing system technology, the system’s finances, and service including vessels, terminals and operations.
The county will develop alternatives for the ferry schedule, fare structure, ticketing technology, and cost and revenue strategies during Phase 2 in March.
In Phase 3, the potential impacts of the alternatives to ridership, finances, customers, and communities will be examined before the plan is developed. During this phase, Pierce County will host two public meetings to share the proposed alternatives and gather feedback.
A study advisory group has been formed to provide input on the needs of the ferry system and the implications of any alternatives. BERK Consulting, a Seattle firm, has been hired to lead the study on the county’s behalf.
The system was last analyzed by the 2003 Waterborne Transportation Study.
The Pierce County Ferry System provides service between the town of Steilacoom and Anderson and Ketron islands. Visit www.piercecountywa.org/ferry to learn about the study.