Kingston's long search for a passenger ferry service to Seattle.
Created by CommunityNews on Jun 1, 2011
Last updated: 07/13/11 at 01:04 PM
Tags: kingston passenger ferry ferry wsf washington
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SoundRunner resumes regular service to Seattle. The first sailing on May 31 draws 41 passengers, about half are commuters.
Port hires Meisha Rouser to oversee SoundRunner. Ken Brazeau is hired as operations manager and captain.
Commissioners approve the relaunch of SoundRunner in May, and pledge up to $200,000 per year for four years to subsidize the service.
Advisory committee tells commissioners that service is viable with a startup subsidy, recommends relaunch.
The port commission tasks 10 volunteers with reexamining the SoundRunner service and it's potential for success.
A crowd of about 75 is largely in favor of the port continuing its passenger ferry program.
A second engine fails on the Spirit of Kingston, forcing the port to suspend service. About 30 commuters are riding regularly when SoundRunner is cancelled.
High waves and mechanical failures plague SoundRunner's first month of service. Last-minute cancellations are frequent, sometimes leaving frustrated riders standing at the dock.
Karen Arnold of Suquamish is hired as manager to replace Eric Osnes. Arnold oversees the suspension of SoundRunner, then departs to pursue another job.
Eric Osnes is fired as manager after a turbulent first week of service. Osnes oversaw the lead up to the passenger ferry's launch. Port commissioners cited Osnes' unwillingness to move to Kitsap as reason for his termination.
SoundRunner makes its inaugural sailing to Seattle at dawn on Oct. 18, drawing a crowd of commuters and joyriders. The ferry's honeymoon is interrupted by rough weather, which soon leads to cancelled sailings.
WIth input from the public, the port decides on "SoundRunner" as the name for its ferry service.
Residents and dignitaries gather for the christening of the Spirit of Kingston, the primary boat for the port's passenger ferry service.
The port purchases the sturdy Victoria Express as a backup boat for its service. The boat had been used as a passenger ferry between Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C. The ferry is later renamed Kingston Express.
The port buys a 72-foot catamaran to use as its primary boat for service to Seattle. The port spends $2.5 million of a $3.5 million federal transit grant to purchase the ferry, which is later named Spirit of Kingston.
Rather than wait for a new ferry to be built, the Port of Kingston narrows its search to used boats.
The Port of Kingston requests proposals for construction of a new passenger ferry to operate between Kingston and Seattle. The port ultimately buys a used boat.
The port lands a $150,000 operational grant from the state and eyes a 2010 start date.
Port Manager Mike Bookey, a driving force behind Kingston passenger ferry plans, dies suddenly.
A $3.5 million federal transit grant finally lands in port coffer's after being untangled from the Seattle 520 bridge project. The grant later helps the port pay for two boats and a terminal.
The parent companies of Aqua Express relinquish their passenger ferry certificate, officially ending their interest in a Kingston service.
The Port of Kingston learns it's in line for at least $3 million in federal money to support a passenger ferry program.
The Kingston Express Association forms in the wake of the Aqua Express suspension, hoping to maintain momentum for a Kingston passenger ferry.
The state Legislature pledges financial support for passenger only ferries, with the passage of a bill sponsored by Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island.
Aqua Express ends service, citing high fuel prices, low ridership and a lack of state support. Its parent companies leave the door open for a relaunch but the ferry never sails again.
A coalition of maritime companies launches Aqua Express, a daily service to Seattle using the former Washington State Ferries boat Tyee.