Increased traffic on the Point Defiance/Tahlequah run helped boost Washington State Ferries ridership to the highest in a decade last year, the agency reported Thursday.
More than 24.2 million people boarded state ferries in 2016, according to the department.
“Ridership is definitely on the rise,” said Elizabeth Kosa, the agency’s chief of staff. “We are adding two new vessels to the system; however, maintaining aging ferries and providing enough service to meet demand continues to be a challenge.”
The biggest uptick in passenger, car and truck traffic was on the Point Defiance/Tahlequah run, which provides service between Tacoma and Vashon Island.
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In 2016, combined Point Defiance/Tahlequah passenger and vehicle traffic topped 812,000, a 5.8 percent increase from the year before, the agency said.
The Seattle/Bainbridge route had the highest ridership last year, carrying 4.5 million and 1.9 million vehicles.