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How we developed the drafts

The San Juan Islands Schedule Task Force: Representing your community

WSF created a group, called The San Juan Islands Schedule Task Force, to get advice and suggestions on how to improve the sailing schedule. This group looked at the current ferry schedules, reviewed options from WSF, and made recommendations that helped us build the draft schedules. We’ve been very appreciative of the task force who have dedicated time to meet with us and represent their communities. With their help we’ve been able to make sure public opinions are considered in the schedule planning process.

View previous Task Force meetings here

Here’s the list of priorities for the new sailing schedules that we heard from the Task Force:

  • Realistic crossing and dwell times for vessels​
  • Enhance reliability by ensuring timely movement of vessel crews​
  • Interisland connectivity patterns:​
    • Connection from islands to Friday Harbor no later than 8:30 am and back from Friday Harbor to the other islands about 5:30 pm +/-​
    • Mid-day frequency to allow half day on any island ​
    • Connections for school kids and San Juan County staff ​
  • Two opportunities to leave islands for the mainland in the early/mid-mornings​
    • “Red eye” with early morning arrival in Anacortes​
    • Mid-morning arrival Anacortes​
  • Freight capacity to/from Anacortes to each island​
  • Minimize long gaps to/from mainland​
  • Capacity for weekend travel peaks to/from mainland​
  • First morning arrivals in Anacortes from Shaw/Orcas​
  • Flexibility during service disruptions ​
    • Desire to keep any one vessel from being locked into a single island all day, ability to toggle back in forth to service disruption schedules easily​
    • Other service priorities precluded this

The draft schedules meet many of these goals. Even though not all our goals could be reached, this list has helped us determine what issues matter most to the community. More realistic timing means a higher chance of sticking to the schedule. More efficient routes improve connections between islands. Focusing on busy weekend travel times gives more people options for getting to the mainland and back.

The Shaw Island terminal on a sunny day