Fighting the ferry fat fee

By John Pierre | Feb 09, 2012

Are you too fat to ride the ferry? 

The Coast Guard seems to think some of us are. 

They are attempting to limit the number of people allowed on a ferry because so many Americans are overweight. 

This matter caught my attention as my wife and I sat in the fantastic Mexican restaurant, Las Brisas in Harbor Square, delighting in their south-of-the-border fare, and watched a long line of 80,000 pound semi tractor-trailers going through the toll booth to line up for the next ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. 

Having taken that ferry many times, I think it is safe to say that there are almost always four or five such trucks (and sometimes more) loaded in the center section of the vessel along with other, large vehicles such as motorhomes, etc. 

It seems to me that, at any given time, a minimum of a half million pounds (or much more) of trucks in addition to a few hundred autos are making the 25 minute trip. 

Now consider, if 500 people, with half of them weighing 200 pounds (a ridiculous assumption) boarded a ferry what would you have?  An extra 12,500 pounds (250 people with 50 pounds overweight each) of fat, bone and gristle contributed by the heavyweights.  Does anyone really think that hefty crowd would make a difference in the operation, safety or sea worthiness of a Washington State ferry?

Leave it to the government to find a problem where this isn't one.  And, why do I get the feeling that this is the toe-in-the-door beginning of fat people having to pay more? 

Is it possible that the Washington State ferry system is behind this foolishness in a not-very-well disguised effort to increase their already exorbitant fees? 

Can't you just picture it?  Each boarding passenger would need to stand on a scale and be charged by the pound just like buying ground round from the butcher. 

Okay, that's a bit of a stretch but stranger things have happened.  

And, if government can find a strange thing, you can bet they'll find a way to make it happen. 

It seems to me that the Washington State ferry system should consider trimming some of its own fat and, finally, begin to operate profitably. 

I recall the story, a couple years ago, wherein some employee drew a ridiculously high salary and additionally, as my memory serves, enhanced his bloated income by something like $70+ thousand dollars in a single year for a mileage allowance getting to and from the job. 

Most of us feel fortunate to have a job, hopefully with reasonable pay, but we drive to work at our own expense, not at company expense. 

Why is the ferry system different?  Simple – because it isn't their money they are lavishing on their employees, it's ours.   

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