Fast ferry follow up Study delves into passenger ferry costs

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A feasibility study on a fast ferry route between Tacoma and Seattle has been conducted. Possible landing sites in Tacoma include 11th Street Dock, Foss Seaport, Old Town Dock, Point Ruston and Point Defiance.

Between Tacoma and Seattle, the boats could go around Vashon Island either to the west or the east. If the latter is chosen, a stop in Des Moines could be considered. The route profile assessment took into account transit connections, fare assumptions, travel time comparisons and operating profiles.

For 2020, estimates have Point Ruston with the highest daily ridership at 523. By 2040, the 11th Street Dock location would catch up to this figure.

A vessel that would carry 150 passengers has estimated capital costs of $!0-$13.2 million, while a 250-passenger boat would cost between $13-$17.5 million. A larger vessel would be needed for bow loading in the Washington State Ferry slip. Start-up capital costs by landing site would be $40.6 million at 11th Street, $41.4 million at Old Town, $42.6 million at Point Ruston, $42.4 million at Point Defiance Park and $53.3 million for the WSF site at Point Defiance.

Estimated annual operating costs at 11th Street are $2.98 million. They would be $2.9 million for Old Town, $2.84 million for Point Ruston and $2.83 million for Point Defiance. The farebox recovery rate is just above $1 million for each site, between 32.5 percent and 37.7 percent.

The subsidy required for 11th Street is $1.96 million, with a cost per rider o $28.77 and a cost per service hour of $1,431. The subsidy for Old Town would be $1.88 million, with a cost per rider of $27.88 and a cost per service hour of $1,394. The subsidy for Point Ruston would be $1.71 million, with a cost per rider of $24.80 and a cost per service hour of $1,364. The subsidy for Point Defiance would be $1.79 million, with a cost per rider of $26.70 and a cost per service hour of $1,362.

Further analysis is required to develop a viable business plan.

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