Ferry Projects

Steilacoom Ferry Landing Lay Berth

A project to make improvements to the lay berth is currently in the permitting phase. The project includes replacing wing walls and dolphins, building a new maintenance access ramp and removing the old one, and improving hook-ups for mechanical and utility systems including electrical, water and sewer.

The project advertisement date is scheduled for May 2017, although this schedule is tentative pending
environmental reviews. This project is expected to cost approximately $3 million. The project is federally funded using ferry boat discretionary funds.

Projects out for advertisement

Find out about any projects out for advertisement on the Bid Opportunities page.

Waterborne Transportation Study

The Pierce County Ferry System's Waterborne Transportation Study was completed in 2015. It is available 

During the study, Pierce County analyzed:
  • Population and demographic changes projected through 2034
  • Changes to ferry service that would enhance island economic vitality and livability
  • The financial sustainability of the ferry system
  • The 14-year capital needs of the ferry system

Study advisory group 

A study advisory group was formed to provide input on the needs of the ferry system and the implications of any alternatives to ferry staff and BERK Consulting, a Seattle firm that was hired to lead the study on Pierce County’s behalf. 

The 10-member advisory group was made up of stakeholders including ferry riders, residents from both islands, and representatives from the Town of Steilacoom, Anderson Island Fire and Rescue, and Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1. The advisory group met several times in 2015. 

Three phases

The study was conducted in three phases.

Phase 1: 

The current situation of the ferry system was assessed to understand the system’s history and outlook, and to identify key challenges and opportunities for the future. The county analyzed population and ridership, fare structure and ticketing system technology, the system’s finances, and service including vessels, terminals, and operations. 

Phase 2: 

The county developed alternatives for service provision, fare structure and technology, and cost and revenue strategies. Criteria for evaluating these alternatives were developed and built based on the Ferry Performance Measure report. Riders were asked to take an origin and destination study in early 2015.

Phase 3

The implications to the alternatives to ridership, finances, customers, and communities were examined before the plan was developed. During this phase, Pierce County hosted two public meetings. The draft and final plans were issued in early summer 2015.

The recommendations were then presented to Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy and the Pierce County Council Economic Infrastructure and Development Committee.

The ferry system was last analyzed by the 2003 Waterborne Transportation Study. 

2015 Public Meetings 

May 14, Anderson Island Elementary School: Options for fare and service policies, 
Station HandoutsStation BoardsMcNeil & New Markets, Comment Form

June 11, Anderson Island Elementary School: Preliminary Draft Recommendations
Station HandoutsStation BoardsComment Form

Advisory Group Meeting Documents

Dec. 8, 2014: AgendaRoles and ResponsibilitiesProject OverviewProject ScheduleRoster and Team Contacts

Jan. 14, 2015: Composition

Feb. 11, 2015: AgendaDraft Situation AssessmentMeeting Summary

March 11, 2015: AgendaAlternative Evaluation CriteriaAlternative OptionsMeeting Summary

April 16, 2015: AgendaMeeting Packet - Service

April 23, 2015: AgendaMeeting PacketMeeting Summary

May 27, 2015: AgendaPublic CommentsDraft RecommendationsMeeting Notes

July 1, 2015: AgendaMeeting PresentationCompiled CommentsRecommendation Ranking FormMeeting Notes

July 10, 2015 AICAB Meeting Presentation on the Waterborne Transportation Study

Ferry Planning

  • 2013 Ferry Service Evaluation The purpose of the 2013 Ferry Service Evaluation was twofold: first, to evaluate several proposed service changes that have been suggested, and second, to evaluate the results of recently implemented and historical service changes that have been put into effect. The Pierce County Ferry System will use this study to determine future potential schedule changes to better serve its customers.
  • Fourteen-Year Ferry Program The Fourteen-Year Ferry Program (2013-2026) is a ferry system planning document required by state law. Pierce County imbeds this document annually with the County's Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).
  • Waterborne Transportation Study - An October 2003 report with recommendations for improvements to the County's ferry system.

Contact Us
Send a message arrow
Customer Service: (253) 588-1950
Refunds or Purchase Issues: (253) 798-7251
Ferry Administration: (253) 798-7250
After Hours Emergency: (253) 798-6000
Steilacoom Landing:
56 Union Ave.
Steilacoom, WA 98388

Office Location:
2702 S 42nd St, Ste 201
Tacoma, WA 98409-7322