It started on the night of last Thursday through Friday, when more than 140 departures were canceled due to understaffing at the Washington State Ferries (WSF) organization. It was then followed by a weekend of reduced crossings and rescheduled boats, and now the WSF is busy with a website outage affecting Washington State Department of Transportation schedules, alerts, cameras and mobile app.
With Washington State Ferries in ‘Crisis’ Solutions Are Months, Years to Come
The outages – which appear to be consistent across the WSDOT website – were reported around 10 p.m. Sunday evening. While technicians worked on a fix in the hours that followed, WSF’s pages for its ferry schedules, alerts and cameras still redirected to a “404” error page at 8 a.m. WSF reports that its phones and customer service call center are also down.
In the meantime, WSDOT encourages people to follow an organized list of Twitter accounts for further updates, featuring Monday’s service plan in the following post:
The cause of Monday’s website outage remains unclear. That said, last week’s problems were a direct result of staffing issues, with the ferry service citing COVID-19 restrictions that “have not allowed us to hire or train new hires at the same rate as before. the pandemic ”.
While the WSF typically increases its hiring once a year before the start of the summer, it says it is “constantly recruiting new employees” to account for its lack of deckhands.
Others have speculated that ferry workers may have called the sick to protest the upcoming COVID vaccination mandate for state employees, which goes into effect on October 18.
“What you are seeing today is a direct result of terms of office, of people refusing to show up for work,” Republican State Representative Andrew Barkis told MyNorthwest. “Whether this is a demonstration, whether it is a taste of what will happen here next week, is of great concern.”
Ryan Brazeau – a representative of the Inland Boatmen’s Union – disputed this claim, however, telling KIRO Radio that of their 1,000 deckhands, only 40 did not disclose their vaccination status and that the vaccination mandate is not probably not to blame for the recent shortages.
“I think it would be shocking to everyone if people gave up these jobs,” Brazeau said. “These are great jobs, they would give up a pension, a retirement and everything that goes with it. “
Brazeau further noted that the majority of deckhands want to work and have worked overtime to help.