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Ferries slow down in hopes of saving taxpayers money

WSDOT photo by Jim Culp

SEATTLE — State ferries moved a little slower this week in an effort to save the environment.

And it could save the taxpayers $500,000, state officials say.

The state reduced the speed of the boats on all 10 ferry routes this week, in order to comply with an executive order from Governor Jay Inslee. The move cuts pollution and spending, all while maintain the ferry schedule, state ferry spokesperson Ian Sterling said.

“If we slow down a mile or two an hour during the crossings, you save a 50-gallon drum of fuel every single time,” Sterling said, noting it turns into about a half-million in savings every year for Washington State Ferries.

Sterling said the minor slowdowns should only cut about 30 seconds per crossing. Schedules will remain the same over the long-term, he said.

There were a few hiccups in the first week. The Bremerton-Seattle ferry route was delayed around 15 minutes a few times due to the slowdowns.

Captains have since been instructed to speed up a bit on that route, in order to keep with schedules.

“These routes aren’t trans-Atlantic,” Sterling said. “The slowdowns don’t make much difference in time.”