The Washington State Ferries fleet returned to near-normal levels of service Monday, following a severe crew shortage Friday that canceled dozens of trips.
Even the Anacortes-San Juan Island service, which has frequently been down a boat or two, has recovered to four vessels, according to a WSF update posted on Twitter.
The state Department of Transportation website, cameras, alerts and mobile app were offline Sunday night and much of Monday morning. By Monday evening, the agency said its website and tools were fully restored.
Among the busier routes, Seattle-Bainbridge, Edmonds-Kingston, and Mukilteo-Clinton lines were running with two boats as of midday.
Seattle-Bremerton remains at one ferry due to a long-term reduction, caused in part by the spring engine-room fire aboard the M/V Wenatchee, docked at the Eagle Harbor maintenance base until late this year. The Tahlequah-Point Defiance service lost six sailings early Monday, and has since resumed service following repairs to the M/V Chetzemoka, said spokesperson Justin Fujioka.
The ferry system skipped about 140 sailings on Friday, when dispatchers were unable to call in enough crew to fill open shifts. WSF pointed to longstanding problems, including low recruitment, to explain the service cuts.
“Over the last few months, some crew have been unavailable because of COVID-19 related quarantines,” Fujioka said.
Fujioka said one positive case was reported Monday, though he said no data on how many employees were quarantining was available. There has been a notification of a positive case at least once each week, he said.
Amy Scarton, deputy state transportation director, predicted on Friday that conditions could improve Monday. Monday marks the start of a new two-week internal scheduling rotation when open shifts are easier to fill, compared to the tail end of the two weeks, she said.
“That is basically one of the main factors here,” Fujioka said.
Passengers should frequently check the Ferries website and Twitter feed for any last-minute changes, he said. Agency managers might also issue a leaner statewide schedule in next several weeks in the event Monday’s crew levels become unsustainable, he said.