The problem means the most popular sailings on the Kitsap Fast Ferry for next month probably won’t have room for walk-on passengers and will have to be first-come, first-served even for those with reservations.
A software glitch in the booking system for the new Kitsap Fast Ferry means that January sailings are overbooked and passengers are not guaranteed a spot on the boat, even with a reservation.
The booking system normally caps each sailing at 88 reservations, leaving room for 30 walk-on passengers. But because of the glitch, sailings throughout January are overbooked, Kitsap Transit said.
Each Fast Ferry can carry 118 passengers.
The overbookings affect the most popular sailing times — 6:45 a.m. from Bremerton to Seattle and 5:10 p.m. from Seattle to Bremerton, Kitsap Transit said.
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Kitsap Transit is asking customers to cancel any reservations that they do not plan to use, and is warning walk-up customers that they are “very unlikely” to get seats on these sailings in January. It is also advising passengers with reservations to arrive early to secure a spot on the boat.
When walk-up passengers have to be turned away, “some customers with reservations may not be able to board the fast ferry either once the vessel reaches capacity,” Kitsap Transit said in a prepared statement.
For passengers with reservations, seats will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis.
The agency is also offering a ticket on Washington State Ferries for the first 30 volunteers each day who give up their reservations on the 5:10 sailing.
The Fast Ferry service launched last summer and makes the Bremerton-to-Seattle trip in roughly half the time as Washington State Ferries. A round trip on the Fast Ferry costs $12, while a round trip on Washington State Ferries costs about $8.
The service is funded by a 0.3 percent increase in the Kitsap County sales tax, which voters there approved last year.
Previous iterations of the fast-ferry service were shut down after lawsuits alleged that the boats’ wakes were damaging beaches on the shores of Rich Passage, between Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula.
The new Fast Ferry is designed with a hydrofoil, so it rides higher in the water at high speeds, producing a smaller wake.
The ferry was plagued with mechanical issues in its early days, causing about a dozen cancellations or service disruptions in its first two months.