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Home » Archives » February 2007 » A Minor Point On Guest Ferry Editorial

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02/23/2007: "A Minor Point On Guest Ferry Editorial"


To the Editor:

Lee Sturdivant aptly describes the "ferry situation" as the political football that it is. Policies based on just about everything but sound business practices. And as is the case in such proceedings, we are asked to engage in the political process: "sign petitions" and "go to Olympia."

Ms Sturdivant erred in one minor point. She states that "our ferry service began to sink with Tim Eyman's initiative" that took away the auto excise tax. My view is that service and performance of WSF has been deteriorating steadily since my arrival (in 1992).

In the recent articles, public hearings and letters about our ferry service, I've heard scant reference to the efficiency or efficacy of the overall WSF system. Some pertinent questions go unasked: in light of technology (computer assisted designing and drawing), does WSF really need to employ "hundreds" of engineers? How do WSF costs compare to BC Ferries (on a per car or per trip or similar basis)?

It is quite possible that WSF's actual costs to transport a vehicle round trip to the San Juans are two to ten (or more) times what is actually charged; and that sound business practices or competition or private enterprise might lower these costs considerably.

The "go to Olympia" advice is probably our only viable option. In doing so, our main concern ought to be whether we go merely as beggars or as informed advocates for a particular course of action.

Albert Hall
Friday Harbor

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