WSF have become the Excuse System | Guest Column

By David and Roberta Moorhouse.

It would appear that the Washington State Ferry System should be renamed the Washington State Excuse System.

In August of 2022, only 40 percent of sailings out of 2,055 total sailing in the San Juan Islands were on time.

Residents of San Juan County rely on the ferry system for many appointments on the mainland. Included would be doctor’s appointments, dentists’ appointments and airline departures. Legal appointments and on and on. The system has become so unreliable that we are often forced to leave a day in advance so as not to miss an important appointment at our great personal expense.

This summer many residents have been stranded on the mainland because the excuse system has decided to not run a vessel to the San Juans. This is not only at a great unnecessary expense but leaves children and animals at home without dinner and supervision. When people remain in their automobiles in the ferry lines overnight because they cannot find lodging or cannot afford lodging they find restrooms locked. Another great service brought on by the excuse system! When employees and school children depend on the excuse system for their employment or schooling on another island it causes many problems. Spring Street School in Friday Harbor has many students arriving daily from other islands. How are they expected to get to school or home if a ferry is canceled? How is a contractor to bring in a job on another island on time if the boats don’t run? Contractors are forced to pay many many hours of overtime to their employees while they sit in the ferry line when boats are canceled. Lately, they have had to pay motel bills when their employees are stranded in Anacortes due to boats not running.

The economy of the San Juans depends on tourism (which the State of Washington spends millions of dollars encouraging). This past summer we herald from several tourists stating that they would never again come to the San Juans.

As Harry Truman said: the buck stops at the top. Obviously, Governor Jay Inslee and Patty Rubstello don’t care about the ferry system or the lack of proper operation thereof.

There is no doubt that the excuse system is run by the maritime unions and not by upper management of the ferry 9excuse) system. It has become obvious that the highly paid executives of the excuse system just plain don’t care about running a proper operation. They get to sit in their executive offices and enjoy their high salaries while the public sufferers.

We have not heard of a hiring bonus for new workers as many other large organizations and corporations have done. If this is not authorized by law or rules, the legislature should be called in to authorize a bonus.

I have to believe that if the ferry system were run by private enterprise, the attorney general, Bob Ferguson, would have come down with a huge fine (Possibly in the millions) for such an erratic operation. We, the citizens of San Juan County, are being held captive by an out-of-control system over which we have no control.