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New free ferry service will connect Point Roberts residents with mainland Washington

Residents of the peninsula community accessible by land only through Canada now have a way to get to Blaine and Bellingham
San Juan Cruises’ Salish Express is one of two vessels being used for a ferry service between Point Roberts and Blaine that launches on Tuesday. Photo courtesy San Juan Cruises

The initial sailings of a short-term emergency transportation service from Point Roberts to Blaine have promptly reached capacity.

The free foot passenger service was announced last week by the Port of Bellingham and the Whatcom Transportation Authority to provide Point Roberts’ residents entry into the continental United States without having to come through Canada. The ferry will make its debut on Tuesday with 90-minute sailings from Point Roberts at 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. while also departing from Blaine at 4 p.m.

Bus transportation to Cordata Station in Bellingham will also be provided for passengers once they arrive in Blaine. The bus also makes a return trip at 3 for the 4 p.m. sailing.

Officials have indicated the service will increase to a maximum of two times a week if the demand is high. San Juan Cruises’ 50-foot vessel Salish Sea and 100-foot vessel Salish Express are being utilized for the service.  Face masks are required on both ferry and bus connections.

Point Roberts is not physically connected to the continental United States, but it is part of Whatcom County. Point Roberts can only be accessed by crossing a vehicle through Canada, flying in on a small plane or by private boat. The U.S./Canada border has been closed to non-essential travel since March and border restrictions have been extended through at least Sept. 21. US residents entering Canada without COVID-19 symptoms are currently required to quarantine for 14 days.

On Friday, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee reached out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggesting Point Roberts’ residents be given special travel permits that will allow them to travel to and from the U.S. Mainland.

Read more from the Delta Optimist