SEATTLE — Since the fast-ferry service launched in July, the boat taking riders from Bremerton to Seattle had had numerous cancellations and breakdowns. So what’s going on?
“I heard it breaks down a lot so I had to call Kitsap Transit just to make sure it’s running today,” passenger Brittiny Bliss said Friday, who added that when it is running, her commute home is cut in half.
For the past two months since the July launch, Kitsap Transit had had to cancel sailings for a total of 12 days for a number of electrical or mechanical issues. Brittiny said she experienced one of the breakdowns firsthand a few weeks ago when the boat stopped in the water.
"It stops and all of us are looking at each other like what's going on, do we have to paddle to Seattle?" asked Brittiny.
The captain announced that the fire suppression system had turned on.
And then again this past week, there was another cancellation for Britinny just as she was about to board the fast-ferry.
"A lot of people were in disbelief like, you're kidding me?"
Kitsap Transit said the most recent breakdown was not a mechanical problem but a result of human error -- that the engine was not restarted properly, triggering a safety alert.
The other malfunctions have included a small crack in the hull from a floating log ... to a defective sea strainer.
Kitsap Transit said a part of the problem is simply bad luck. Also, it said, the fast-ferry was actually in storage for several years before it was placed in service, so mechanical issues could stem from that fact. Kitsap Transit officials said they're learning from each issue and emphasized that passenger safety is always their first priority.
But Brittiny isn't giving up on the fast-ferry.
"Once it runs, it's great," she said. "I love it -- it's quick."