Fare increases proposed for Washington's ferry system

Across-the-board ferry-fare increases are being proposed by the Washington State Transportation Commission, in order to ensure the state meets the ferry-fare-revenue target set by the Legislature in the recently enacted 2013 – 2015 transportation budget.

The commission is seeking public comment on the proposal during the coming weeks and plans to make a final decision during its meeting at 3 p.m. om Tuesday, July 30, at Union Station in Seattle.

The commission’s proposal is based on recommendations from Washington State Ferries and members of the citizen-based Ferry Advisory Committee on Tariffs. The proposal includes a number of fare and policy changes, which are summarized below.

Detailed information on the proposal, including fare tables, is available on the commission’s website: www.wstc.wa.gov.

All proposed changes would take effect on October 1, 2013, unless otherwise noted.

Key elements of the proposal are:

– Across-the-board general-fare increase: 2 percent increase on passenger fares and 3 percent increase on vehicle fares; 2 percent increase on passenger fares and 2.5 percent increase on vehicle fares on May 1, 2014.

– Fare increase for the Anacortes-Sidney, BC, route: 4.1 percent increase on Anacortes-Sidney vehicle and passenger fares; 2.5 percent increase on Anacortes-Sidney vehicle and passenger fares on May 1, 2014.

– Consolidate the current one-way fares to and from Friday Harbor and Sidney, BC, into one round-trip fare

– Complete implementation of a three-phase plan that was started in 2011, providing reduced fares for smaller vehicles. In this final phase, the vehicle fare for cars less than 14 feet will be charged 70 percent of the vehicle fare charged for standard vehicles (14 feet to less than 22 feet).

– Eliminate the motorcycle oversize surcharge. Vehicles that currently pay the motorcycle oversize surcharge will pay either the under 14 feet vehicle fare or the motorcycle fare depending on their size.

– Increase the youth discount from the current 20 percent off the full fare, to 50 percent off the full fare.

People can comment on the commission’s proposal in a variety of ways:

In person: The commission will be holding several public input meetings in ferry served communities. Dates and locations are listed below. More details can be found on the commission’s web site at: www.wstc.wa.gov.

– Monday, July 8: San Juan Islands Inter-island ferry 11:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.; Anacortes 5:30 p.m.
– Wednesday, July 10: Coupeville 6 – 8 p.m.
– Thursday, July 11: Vashon Island 6 – 8 p.m.
–  Monday, July 15: Bainbridge Island 6 – 8 p.m.
– Tuesday, July 16: Port Orchard 6 – 8 p.m.

By Email: transc@wstc.wa.gov

By Phone: 360-705-7070

In writing: WSTC Fare Proposal, P.O. Box 47308, Olympia, WA 98504-7308

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