Taking the ferry to work

Steve Mitchell 2 min read
Taking the ferry to work

The last few days I’ve been “commuting” from our place on Vashon Island into downtown Seattle.  Part of it was a trial to see how it was to commute, and part of it was for fun – if you call getting up at 6AM fun.

Monday I took the passenger ferry, which I’ve done hundreds of times, and it was no different than normal.  Of course, I’m doing this during a week when traffic is light due to the holidays, but that’s OK for me.  It was nice seeing the sunrise, and the drive was nice on the Vashon side.  The Seattle side was less fun, but still not horrible.  On the return trip, I had to wait a while to catch a ferry, but nothing hugely long.

Tuesday and Wednesday I took the King County Water Taxi from Vashon directly to downtown, and then walked 45 minutes down the waterfront to work.  Both times were excellent – the ferry trip was super fast (~20 minutes) and smooth, the crew very efficient and polite.  There were a few problems with the new ORCA cards, but that’s expected with something new.

The walk from Coleman dock to work was nice – the first day it was freezing cold and I didn’t dress right, so I was a bit unhappy there, but the walk itself was nice.  The sun was rising during the walk, ferries and ships were moving around, and of course a few trains went by just to keep me awake.

I think if you have to commute, this sort of commute is pretty nice – a bit of exercise to start and end the day, and efficient mass transit in the middle.  Of course, I am not doing this during a normal day (holidays and all) so I am sure it would be less fun if the boat was full/late/canceled.  Nevertheless, commuting just as long in a car offers up the same style of interruptions and inconveniences with traffic problems and sports games ?

I think it would be great to be able to ride my bike from the place on Vashon to the ferry terminal, and subsequently into work, but in talking with several others that commute regularly on the Water Taxi, those bike rack slots on the boat are hard to come by – maybe just cycling one end would be OK, and walking the other (Seattle side for walking!).  Of course, that would mean actually getting back into shape since the ride from the house on Vashon to the ferry terminal is super long (11 miles), and has a huge amount of hills.

It’s good to know that commuting isn’t that bad, though…

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