This is a huge bummer. Port Townsend has given up on its plans for a passenger ferry to Seattle, citing a lack of expected ridership.
We reported previously that the ferry was expected to start as early as the spring of 2013, finally creating an easy and fast way for people to get between the two cities without a car.
However, the Port Townsend Leader reports that the city has decided to return the federal grant they received to start the project:
The Port of Port Townsend Commission has voted 3-0 to cancel its passenger-only ferry project and return its federal grant.
During the commission’s Nov. 13 meeting, Executive Director Larry Crockett recommended that the $1.3 million Federal Transit Authority grant, awarded in 2010, be returned in its entirety. The money could have only been spent on a passenger-only ferry (POF), a project which Crockett has said is not supported by rider interest in Jefferson County.
“I’ve come to the conclusion we’re so small as a community,” Crockett said, adding the population figures for the City of Port Townsend barely qualifies it as a city compared to some metropolitan areas.
“This is not the right time for a passenger ferry,” he said. “I think this was a concept that needed to be explored, I think the port manned up and did that to best of our ability.”
UPDATE: I confirmed with Olympic Bus Lines that you can bring a bike on the Dungeness line to Port Townsend or Port Angeles for an additional $5. Those tickets cost $39 from the Seattle Grayhound Station (w/o bike) for one-way or $69 round-trip. So you and your bike can still get out there using transit. The trip takes about two and a half hours and buses leave twice a day.
Other than biking the whole way, does anyone know any other car-free ways to get to Port Townsend or Port Angeles?
Here’s one alternative, though it may not be that practical :)
It takes a couple of transfers, but ferry to Bremerton and ride Kitsap Transit Bremerton to Port Townsend. Costs about $4.50, and your bike rides free.
What about sounder north to mukulteo, ferry to whidbey, (mumble mumble mumble), ferry to port Townsend. Profit!
Getting between Port Townsend and Seattle is a relatively simple three-part process Mondays through Saturdays. First, Jefferson Transit Route 7 runs from the Port Townsend Park & Ride to Poulsbo 4 times daily weekdays and twice Saturdays. Second, Kitsap Transit runs from Poulsbo to the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal. Third, Washington State Ferries runs from Bainbridge Island to Pier 52 in Seattle. Both Jefferson Transit and Kitsap Transit have bike racks on the front of all of their buses, with a capacity of two bikes per bus.
Fares differ southbound and northbound. Jefferson transit charges $1.50 for a daily pass, but charges an additional $1 for all passengers coming into Jefferson County across the county line. Thus, southbound passengers pay $1.50, while northbound pasengers are charged $2.50 for travelling between Port Townsend and Poulsbo. Kitsap Transit charges $2 for a one-way trip. Washington State Ferries charges $7.70 per passenger for trips leaving Seattle for Bainbridge Island, with a $1 surcharge for bicycles. The Ferry system does not charge a passenger fee or bicycle surcharge for trips returning to Seattle. Thus, southbound from Port Townsend to Seattle would cost $3.50, while northbound from Seattle to Port Townsend would cost $12.20, with an additional dollar for a bicycle on the northbound trip. (schedule frequency and fares are as of this date, 11/15/2012, and should be checked and verified online for any future dates)
It is possible to take transit from Port Townsend to Seattle by way of Whidbey Island, using the ferry to Coupeville (Keystone), then taking Island Transit to Clinton, the ferry from Clinton to Mukilteo, Community Transit from Mukilteo to Lynnwood. and Sound Transit Route 511 from Lynnwood to Seattle. However, this is much more complex and time-consuming (weekdays, you have to take Island Transit Route 6 from the Keystone ferry terminal to Coupeville, then wait for the southbound Route 1 to take you to Clinton) and more expensive.
Or there’s the long ride way, … ride up to the Muleteo Clinton ferry, take the ferry, ride the length of Widbey Island to Fort Ebey, catch the ferry to Port Townsend…
What Eric said. I found it a pretty easy way to return to Seattle after an impromptu Sunday night stay on what was to be a two-day ride up and back, pouring rain at 5 am notwithstanding. Added a 550 ride and I was in Bellevue at work before most of my co-workers.