Washington transportation commission proposes ferry fare increases

Across-the-board and back-to-back ferry fare increases are being proposed by the Washington State Transportation Commission.

If adopted, a 2 percent increase on passenger fares and 3 percent increase on vehicle fares would kick in on Oct. 1, and would be followed by a 2 percent increase on passenger fares and 2.5 percent increase on vehicle fares on May 1, 2014.

The commission has also suggested a change in the vehicle fare for cars less than 14 feet. Those vehicles will be charged 70 percent of the vehicle fare that is paid for standard vehicles (14 feet to less than 22 feet).

Officials are also seeking the elimination of the motorcycle oversize surcharge, and want to increase the youth discount from the current 20 percent off the full fare, to 50 percent off the full fare.

Commission officials said the fare hikes are needed to meet the revenue target for ferry fares that was set by the Legislature in the recently enacted 2013-2015 transportation budget. Officials said the proposal was based on recommendations from Washington State Ferries and members of the citizen-based Ferry Advisory Committee on Tariffs.

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

The commission will hold several meetings in communities served by the ferry system to get feedback on the proposed fare changes.

One of the meetings will be held in Port Orchard. That meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 16 at Givens Community Center.

People can also comment on the commission’s proposal by emailing or by calling 360-705-7070. Comments can also be mailed to WSTC Fare Proposal, PO Box 47308, Olympia, WA 98504-7308.


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