Tag Archives: WSF

WSF has a new Assistant Secretary

The following press release was distrbuted yesterday by WSF.

New Assistant Secretary for WSF

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Contact: Lars Erickson, WSDOT communications, 360-789-6463 (cell)

Secretary Peterson appoints Lynne Griffith

OLYMPIA – Today, Lynn Peterson, Secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation, announced the appointment of Lynne Griffith as Assistant Secretary for the Washington State Ferries Division.

She officially begins her leadership role next month with responsibilities including, guiding the ferries management team and all ferries employees to meet safety, operational and budgetary goals; and collaborating effectively with community and labor partners and other WSDOT divisions. Griffith will be the first woman to hold the position of Assistant Secretary for the Washington State Ferries Division.
“I am very pleased Lynne is joining the WSDOT team and I want to thank Captain George Capacci for serving in the interim role,” said Secretary Peterson. “Our ferry system is an iconic symbol o f the state of Washington and a vital link in our statewide transportation system. It will be in good hands with Assistant Secretary Griffith.”

Griffith has more than 35 years’ experience in the transportation industry in transit, airlines and rail, from entry level operations to executive management. Highlights of her background include: currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Pierce Transit and formally at C-TRAN in Clark County, and managing bus and specialized transportation for people with disabilities at one of the largest transit authorities in the United States, MARTA, in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I am excited to work with the 1,700 men and women who are responsible for providing such an important transportation connection to Washingtonians,” said Griffith. “It is no small task to operate service reliably and safely on such a large scale, and I am looking forward to this opportunity.”

Also today, Secretary P eterson sent a memo to Governor Inslee with short- and long-term considerations to move the division forward under Griffith’s leadership.
“Coming from an island community that relies heavily on WSF services, I personally understand and appreciate how this leadership role is important to keeping the economic engine of Washington running,” said Governor Inslee. “I am pleased someone as capable and experienced as Lynne Griffith is joining our team to make this system even better.”

Washington State Ferries operates 163,000 scheduled sailings annually, with a reliability rate of 99.5 percent year to date in 2014.

WSF Community Meeting: Friday Harbor, June 25

The following reminder regarding the upcoming WSF community meeting in Friday Harbor comes from our local Ferry Advisory Committee.

WSF is holding a community meeting from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 25 in Friday Harbor at the San Juan County Council chambers, 55 Second Street.

This meeting will be streamed live from the San Juan County website video page: http://www.sanjuanco.com/council/video.aspx#mode.live

Questions will be taken during the meeting via email to: coursem@wsdot.wa.gov Discussion topics include route-specific issues, liquefied natural gas, new vessel construction, and long-range planning.

Meet the final candidates – Ferries chief

The following press release comes from out local Ferry Advisory Committee. This is a big deal and it would be wonderful to have a good turn out at this coming Monday’s meeting in Friday Harbor.

Please join us on Monday, June 9, 4-6 pm at the Friday Harbor House for an open
house and an opportunity to meet the two final candidates for the position of
ferries chief. This is one of only two such events being held, and is a huge
honor and opportunity for our county. So please join us to meet the candidates
and find out about their backgrounds and visions for the ferry system.

Here’s the official announcement from WSDOT:

Following a significant recruitment effort, the Washington State Department of
Transportation has narrowed the pool of candidates for Assistant Secretary of
Transportation, Ferries Division, to its top two candidates:

Captain George Capacci: Currently serving as interim Assistant Secretary,
Capacci held the position of WSF deputy chief of Operations and Construction. He
also served as vice president of Fleet Operations with the Alaska Marine Highway
System and is a retired commissioned officer of the U.S. Coast Guard.

John Ladenburg: A practicing private attorney, Ladenburg has an extensive
background in local and regional government including being elected as Pierce
County Executive, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney and to the Tacoma City
Council. He has also served as chair of Sound Transit, president of Puget Sound
Regional Council of Governments and president of Puget Sound Economic
Development Board.

There will be two open house events for the candidates, the first in Friday

When: 4 to 6 p.m., Monday, June 9
Where: Friday Harbor House, 130 West St. (corner of First St.), Friday Harbor

When: 7 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 10
Where: Norm Dicks Center, 345 6th St., Bremerton

After brief introductions from the meeting hosts, participants will have an
opportunity to talk with the candidates. There will be no formal question and
answer session.

David Moseley announces resignation

The director of WSF is stepping down. Here is the announcement sent out yesterday.

March 18, 2014

Six years ago when I came to Washington State Ferries it was an agency in crisis. Former Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond had just made the correct and courageous decision to stop operating the 82-year-old Steel Electric class vessels because they weren’t safe. Just a few years previously WSF had lost its main funding subsidy, the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax. That source of funding has never been replaced. The result was to shift more of the operating cost to our customers. Last year 70 percent of WSF’s operating cost came from the fares our customers paid. I don’t know of any other major transportation system in the nation that has a higher fare-box recovery rate than ours. In addition, our fleet had become the oldest of any major ferry system in the world. The average age of BC Ferries’ vessels are 21-years-old, Norway’s 28 and ours, in 2008 when I came, was 38-years-old. So, we had old boats, had cut service and raised fares on our customers – no wonder they were mad at us! 

When I came I said that we need to focus on four major priorities. First, we had to build new ferry boats. Second, we had to preserve and maintain our ferries better to ensure the safety of our passengers and the reliability of our service. Third, we needed to improve our relationships with ferry communities and customers through more frequent and more personal communication. Finally, we needed a sustainable, dedicated funding source for the capital and operating needs of the system.

I believe we’ve made real, tangible progress on all of those priorities. Thanks to funding provided by the legislature, we built and have in operation three new, (64-car) KWA DI TABIL class ferries which replaced the previously retired Steel Electrics. We now have an additional three new ferries, the OLYMPIC class, funded and under construction. That will allow us to retire, as scheduled, the 60-year-old Evergreen State class. Remarkably, that’s six new ferries built, under construction or funded in just six years. Finally, the average of our ferry fleet is going in the right direction – downward.

We are preserving and maintaining our vessels better. Our talented staff keeps our vessels operating with 99.4 percent service reliability even though much of the regular maintenance has to be completed during the evening and early morning hours when the ferries are not operating – at terminals strung from Tacoma to Anacortes. Most other ferry systems return their vessels to a central maintenance facility at the end of the day for maintenance. We don’t have that luxury. We also cleaned the rust from our ferries and improved the appearance of our fleet.

Communications with our customers is better. I have participated in more than 450 meetings in our ferry communities over the last six years. I also send out a report each week on ferry activities that is emailed to more than 5,000 folks and posted online. We’ve improved the ability of our customers to manage their own travel decisions with new online information such as “Best Time to Travel”, “Terminal Conditions,” and “Fleet Watch.” After successfully implementing a vehicle reservation system on three of our routes, we are now working on Phase 2 that will allow customers traveling to and from the San Juan islands to reserve space on our vessels, providing them with travel predictability and certainty. Customers will not have to show up and wait in line for hours. In the future, on most WSF routes, when a customer makes a reservation, they are on the ferry they reserved. After 12 years of ridership decline, the ferry system added customers in 2013.

That brings us to the fourth priority – financial sustainability. The good news is that the 2014 legislature passed a bill providing a dedicated revenue source for WSF’s vessel construction program. While this will not provide full financial sustainability it is a very important step toward a stronger financial foundation. WSF still does not have a dedicated revenue subsidy for operations and terminals capital costs. Until there is a dedicated source in place for those costs, WSDOT will likely need to continue to transfer funds from other depleted transportation accounts to maintain our current level of service. While we made real and significant progress in the 2014 session, financial sustainability has been and remains WSF biggest challenge.

Recognizing that the Ferry system is in a stronger position than when I came six years ago, I have decided to leave as head of the Washington State Ferries. My last day will be April 15. I think it’s a good time to hand the future to the next director.

It has been a profound privilege to serve the citizens of the State of Washington and the customers of Washington State Ferries for the last six years. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve in what has been the most satisfying job of my career – and the hardest.

It has been a pleasure to work with the women and men of the ferry system. They are hard-working, dedicated individuals who care deeply about the important service they provide to the citizens of our state and our customers. It has been an honor serving Secretaries Hammond and Peterson and Governors Gregoire and Inslee. I also appreciate the support WSF received from many legislators during the past six years – particularly the House and Senate Transportation Chairs I have had the privilege to work with, Senators Haugen, King and Eide and Rep. Clibborn. All of these people have worked hard for WSF during very difficult times. Finally, I have benefited from the advice and input received from our ferry customers and communities. I believe I needed and learned more from the community meetings than the communities did and I thank them for sharing their time with me.

I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made. But it is now time for the next person to build on our successes, correct our mistakes and continue to move the system forward. As I leave this work to the next person, I am reminded of a Theodore Roosevelt quote, “More and more it seems to me that about the best thing in life is to have a piece of work worth doing and to do it well.” There is absolutely no doubt that leading WSF is “a piece of work worth doing.” I am satisfied to leave the judgment of “how well” I did to others. But one thing I know for sure – I did my best.

Now I look forward to the next challenge. I don’t know what that will be. I’ve had a few interesting conversations but really have no concrete plan yet. Instead, I intend on taking a few months to explore new possibilities. 

As they say in the maritime world, I wish you all “fair winds and following seas.” Take care and best wishes.

David Moseley

Semi-annual Community Meeting

The second community input meeting for 2013 will be held next week on Wednesday, Dec. 4. In a departure from past, the San Juan Islands meeting will be held mid-day, making it possible for residents or Orcas Island to attend (previously, the meeting was scheduled during the evening, and there was no ferry for Orcas residents to take home). Here is meeting time and location information. In addition, residents of Orcas and Lopez can attend the meeting virtually at their public libraries.

WSF is holding two community meetings on Wed, Dec. 4:  11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the San Juan County Council Chambers, 55 Second St., Friday Harbor; and 5-7 p.m. at Anacortes City Hall Council Chambers, 904 6th Street, Anacortes.

The Friday Harbor meeting will be streamed live from the Orcas and Lopez libraries and on the San Juan County website (http://www.sanjuanco.com/council/video.aspx#mode.live ). Viewers can submit questions to coursem@wsdot.wa.gov.

Discussion topics for both meetings  include: route-specific issues, legislative session, liquefied natural gas, new vessel construction, and long-range planning. We look forward to your participation! For more information, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Ferries/commuterupdates/pub_meetings.htm.