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Ferry rates increase tomorrow

Washington State Ferries has announced seven retail locations in Kitsap County where ferry riders can purchase the monthly passes that will give them the best deal on daily commuting.

The lower cost of monthly passes is the only break for ferry riders, though, as an overall fare increase takes effect starting tomorrow May 12. Fares for single-ride walk-on passengers will go from $4.50 to $5.10, collected only on the westbound trip. Ten-ticket books will go from $31.50 to $38.50.

Also on May 12, the normal peak-season surcharge takes effect. That means the car-and-driver fare, collected each way, will jump from the present $8 to $11.25, and will fall back to $9 in October, when the peak-season surcharge lapses.

The June passes will be on sale beginning May 15 at the following locations:

l Bremerton — Garguiles Red Apple on Perry Avenue, Midtown Market on 6th Street.

l Poulsbo — Central Market and Poulsbo Thriftway, both on Highway 305;

l Kingston — Kingston Thriftway on Highway 104;

l Bainbridge Island — Town & Country Market on Winslow Way, Safeway in the Village.

The monthly passes sell for $62.20, of which the retailer gets $1 and the ferry system gets the rest. Pass sales will begin on the 15th of each month for the following month, and will continue until the 4th.

The passes will be good on all three Central Sound routes – Seattle to Bremerton and Bainbridge, and Edmonds to Kingston.

A commuter who makes 20 round-trips per month – a normal work month – would pay $3.11 per trip, a reduction from the current lowest fare of $3.15 per trip, which is available to purchasers of 10-ride ticket books.

Passenger-only monthly passes will drop from the present $108.20 per month to $94.20.

Monthly passes are good for unlimited rides, and are valid on less-expensive routes, meaning that a foot-ferry pass is good on auto ferries.

The monthly passes will continue to be sold on-line at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.

The fare adjustments are the second of a series of phased increases aimed at recovering 80 percent of the system’s operating costs from users, up from the present 65 percent.

The ferry system had been heavily subsidized by the value-based Motor Vehicle Excise Tax which was eliminated first by voters in 2000, then by the Legislature in 2001.

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