The Spirit of Kingston is now part of the water taxi fleet; New boat was acquired at no cost

The King County Water Taxi fleet just grew by one and at essentially no cost. The Spirit of Kingston, a 65 foot, 147 person catamaran that previously served the Kingston/Seattle route was acquired by the King County Ferry District in an unanimous vote on March, 18.

An agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) who originally provided grant funding to the Port of Kingston to purchase the vessel made it possible to get the vessel at no cost. The Port of Kingston discontinued ferry service last fall. That meant the King County Ferry District had an opportunity to acquire the vessel due to the FTA’s previous $2 million investment.

“This is an exciting day for transit in our region. The Spirit of Kingston will help increase reliability of our water taxi service and help to ensure that riders can get where they’re going as planned. The Spirit of Kingston will address many of the service disruptions we experience,” said Joe McDermott, Chair of the King County Ferry District.

The Spirit of Kingston will likely start sailing next month.

The vessel will replace the Rachel Marie, a leased vessel which currently provides service between West Seattle and downtown Seattle. The Rachel Marie will then serve as a back-up when the other vessels are out of service for maintenance or repairs.

In addition to improved service reliability, the acquisition will help the district reduce operational costs. The district estimates it will save more than $425,000 on lease and rental expenses over the next five years.

“The acquisition of The Spirit of Kingston will not only provide increased reliability for the riders of the water taxi, but it will also save money for the Ferry District. We now have a backup vessel which will cut down on our need to rent boats when one of our other boats needs maintenance or repair,” said King County Ferry District Vice-Chair Larry Gossett.

The district contracts with the King County Department of Transportation’s Marine Division to provide passenger-only ferry service from Seattle to Vashon Island and West Seattle. To learn more about the Water Taxi and schedule information visit King County’s website: www.kingcounty.gov/watertaxi

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