Beginning Monday, Jan. 5, 2009, the 34-car Hiyu will operate on the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route (Tacoma to south Vashon Island) for approximately six weeks while the 48-car Rhododendron is out of service for scheduled maintenance and inspection.
To assist customers on this route, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Ferries Division (WSF) will add an additional midday roundtrip sailing. The Hiyu will depart Point Defiance at 12:50 p.m. and Tahlequah at 1:15 p.m.
Another option for customers on this route is to form a temporary carpool during the six-week service reduction. Carpools with at least three people get preferential loading over single occupancy vehicles. To sign up for a temporary carpool permit, email Customer Programs Manager Nicole Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 206-515-3857 for assistance.
While capacity on the route is temporarily reduced, customers can expect longer wait times during busy commute periods. Drivers are advised to arrive early and to consider using the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth route for travel to and from Vashon Island.
With no backup vessels in the ferry system, WSF must plan vessel assignments to accommodate maintenance needs while minimizing disruptions to customers. This becomes especially difficult during the fall/winter maintenance season when more vessels must be removed from service for annual maintenance and inspections.
For more ferry system information, visit the WSF Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.