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Washington State Ferries calls for new vessels and electrifying fleet

Fri 11 Jan 2019 by Rebecca Moore

Washington State Ferries calls for new vessels and electrifying fleet
Wahington State Ferries calls for new ferries and creating a greener fleet

Washington State Ferries (WSF) has released a 2040 Long Range Plan that calls for 16 new ferries – and recommends ‘electrifying’ the fleet to slash fuel use and emissions.

A statement explained that more than half of Washington State Ferries’ 23-vessel fleet is scheduled to be retired by 2040. The ferry system needs 16 new vessels in the next 20 years, including 13 ferries to replace vessels due for retirement and three additional vessels to fill in when other ferries are out for maintenance and to respond to growth.

These findings are among the recommendations of the newly released 2020 Long Range Plan, which WSF submitted to the Washington State Legislature on 3 January 2019.

“This Long Range Plan provides a blueprint to guide WSF’s investments and meet our customers’ service expectations,” assistant secretary Amy Scarton said. “We need to invest immediately in building new ferries, developing our workforce and upgrading technology and terminals to provide a reliable, sustainable and resilient ferry service through 2040 and beyond.”

The Long Range Plan builds upon WSF’s 2009 plan by focusing on a set of investments and service enhancements for the agency to implement over the next 20 years. The plan addresses four major themes:

  • Reliable service
  • Customer experience
  • Managing growth
  • Sustainability and resilience

In addition to recommending that the state builds new ferries immediately, the plan includes investments in terminal improvements to support a more reliable service, a focus on new technology and strategies to improve the customer experience and manage growth.

For the first time, the WSF Long Range Plan includes recommendations for electrifying the ferry fleet to reduce fuel use, emissions, noise and maintenance costs.

The plan reflects extensive input from ferry customers, the public and stakeholders, including nearly 900 comments.

WSF said that its Long Range Plan will help guide future funding decisions and that it will use it to guide projects and adapt to changing conditions through 2040.

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