UW News

June 18, 2018

Evans School faculty to study Fauntleroy ferry concerns for Washington State Ferries

UW News

The Washington State Legislature has commissioned faculty members with the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance to study ticketing and loading procedures at the West Seattle ferry dock and suggest ways to improve terminal operations.

Evans School professor Alison Cullen and associate professor Stephen Page will lead the study, which begins this week and is expected to conclude in December. The work is being funded by $75,000 from the state supplemental transportation budget. Cullen is principal investigator for the project.

Assisting Cullen and Page will be Zane Gustafson, Zachary Kearl and Emily Scott, students in the Evans School’s Masters of Public Administration program.

The popular Fauntleroy Dock is where travelers and commuters take ferries on along a triangular route from Seattle to Vashon Island and the small town of Southworth. The dock has been the cause of commuter frustrations in recent years, with some ferries departing on time but not entirely full, while cars wait in line.

“We’ve been asked to analyze and compare alternative approaches to improve ticketing and loading procedures at the Fauntleroy ferry dock in West Seattle, given the constraints of the current dock and the characteristics of its location,” Cullen and Page said in an email.

For the study, the team plans to conduct site visits to the docks and interview Washington State Ferries staff members as well as community members. They will also sit in on meetings of the Washington State Ferries’ Triangle Route Improvement Task Force on improving service in “the triangle.”

The researchers will analyze data for a range of conditions, the faculty members say, and where feasible “identify alternative approaches to customer demand, waiting times, ticketing methods, fare structures and collection, loading and safety provisions, community engagement, customer satisfaction, and routes.”

When the study is complete, the team will offer its recommendations to Washington State Ferries.

“If our analysis uncovers barriers posed by policies,” they add, “we will consider possibilities for improvement as possible within our scope.”


For more information, contact Cullen at 206-616-1654 or alison@uw.edu.