Ferry Travel in the Time of Coronavirus?

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I had planned to, finally, write –and finish — my “Curmudgeon’s Guide to the Washington State Ferry System” post this Spring or Summer. We are ferry folk — my husband takes the ferry every day to and from work. I had found a couple of funny letters of complaint and responses in our joint email and was going to use those to start an informative and, hopefully, funny post about navigating our ferry system.

But, though I’m trying to maintain a sense of humor throughout this crisis, the current situation is very serious and it’s a good question how you can maintain social distancing while using public transportation. As far as public transportation goes, it’s easier to maintain distance on our ferries than on buses or subways. While it’s better to work from home if you can, not everyone has that option.

According to my spouse, when he has been on the ferry, it’s at very low capacity. A week or so ago, he estimated the ferries were at about 50% their usual volume of passengers. Now it’s less — enough space to keep a 6′ distance between yourself and another passenger. Gallies are closed.

As far as paying — regular commuters don’t need to exchange anything if you buy a ferry pass or Orca card. If you do need to pay at the booth, make sure you have hand sanitizer or you can utilize gloves. At this time, I’d stay in my car if I was commuting by car — but if you need to wash your hands, there are facilities upstairs to do so.

To keep up to date on the ferry system’s travel alerts, you can visit their alerts page.

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