WSF set to increase fares

Washington State Ferries has announced a schedule for a series of public meetings of the Tariff Policy Committee to begin collecting public comment on the 2005-2007 tariff proposal.

Topics include fare increases and the reconfiguration of the commuter book process.

It’s certain the current bulk coupon practice will give way to an electronic system by the end of this year, but the current 90-day limit for ticket expiration may change.

Within this context, anything is possible. One proposal cuts the 90-day period by two-thirds. Under the 30-day limit, daily commuters would still need to purchase two 20-ticket blocs each month.

This new policy would affect those who but a ticket book at a discount but only take sporadic trips.

One proposal suggests tickets with a 30-day limit are issued at the lowest rate, with a 60-day slightly higher “convenience rate” also available.

“I have mixed feelings about this,” said Bremerton Ferry Board member Fred Chang. “But we probably have to redefine what a commuter is. This was never intended to be a discount book.”

“The question is, should you get a discount just because you live here?” said tariff policy committee head Alice Tawresey.

Information about the proposal will be available at the terminals and on the ferries Feb. 1. The final modified document will go into effect — along with an annual 5 percent fare hike — on May 1.

“We have a good history of listening to people,” Tawresey said. “Nothing is set in concrete.”

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