Pierce County News –County Awards New Ferry Service Contract

“Pacific Western Maritime Inc. has been chosen to operate the Pierce County ferry service between Steilacoom and Anderson and Ketron islands for the next two to five years under a contract scheduled to take effect Monday, November 1.Pacific Western Maritime, located in Tukwila, is headed by Bob Ray. For four-and-one-half years of the previous five-year contract, Ray managed the ferry service’s day-to-day operations for the company.“Bob Ray has a great hands-on knowledge of the ferry system,” said Don Peterson, a bridge and environmental engineering supervisor for Pierce County Public Works and Utilities.Ray said he plans a number of changes to improve the service, such as having crew members wear uniforms.“I am looking forward to providing much better service now that I am able to control all aspects of the operation,” Ray said.The new contract contains no major changes that would impact ferry users, and ferry schedules will remain the same, according to Peterson.The MV Christine Anderson, which went into service in 1994, makes 10 weekday and 13 weekend runs between Steilacoom and Anderson Island and two weekday and three weekend runs to and from Ketron Island.Two ferry-related issues unrelated to the contract will be coming before the County Council in coming weeks:- A proposal to prohibit vehicles 38 feet or longer on weekday runs leaving Anderson Island between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. is scheduled for a Council hearing at 3 p.m., Tuesday, November 2.The measure is to reserve as much room on the ferry as possible for commuter vehicles during those times.- A proposal to increase ferry fares is scheduled for a Council hearing at 3 p.m., Tuesday, November 16. The proposed increase is reported to be the first in several years.Both proposals will be heard during regular Pierce County Council meetings held at 930 Tacoma Avenue South, Room 1045, Tacoma. Council meeting agenda items can be found in Monday editions of the Index.”