Ferry fares to increase twice in next 14 months

Bikers get break after voicing concerns
Aug 09, 2017
Photo by: Nicholas Johnson Ferries cross Puget Sound between Mukilteo and Whidbey Island on a recent evening. Ferry rates will increase in October of this year, as well as October of next year.

You’ll soon be paying more for getting on the boat to Clinton.

The Washington State Transportation Commission, which regularly raises rates, voted on ferry fare increases to be phased in over the next two years.

The commission asked for public input, and says that resulted in benefits to passengers and bicyclists.

Just not those with cars.

The commission says it is required to ensure ferry fares generate $381 million in operating revenue between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2019, as required in the recently passed two-year state transportation budget for Washington State Ferry operations.

Transportation Commission Executive Director Reema Griffith said the commission’s fare proposal accomplished that. But increases to passenger fares and bicycles with trailers generated the most concern from the public.

For example, more than 500 members of the Seattle-based Cascade Bicycle Club shared their opinions on a proposal for a steep fare increase for bikes with trailers on ferries.

“Thanks to your advocacy, Washington State Ferries and the State Transportation Commission are pedaling back on the plan,” the club said in a news release. “Your voice matters, and the insights you shared with leaders made a huge difference.”

So, in response to the public’s comments, the commission still increased the passenger fare increase. It had wanted 2.5 percent, but instead raised the rates 2.1 percent.

The commission did decide, however, to keep fares for bicyclists towing trailers the same. But if you’re a biker towing a kayak or canoe, you’ll see an increase.

The final ferry fare adjustments adopted by the commission will take effect as follows:

Oct. 1, 2017

· 2.9 percent fare increase for small and standard sized vehicles

· 0.8 percent to 1.8 percent fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer), depending on vehicle size

· 2.1 percent fare increase for passengers

· Passengers who bring bicycles towing kayaks or canoes will pay the motorcycle/ stowage fare. All other bicyclists towing items other than a kayak or canoe would continue to pay the same fare as today (bicycle surcharge plus the passenger fare).

Oct. 1, 2018

· 2.5 percent fare increase for small and standard-sized vehicles

· No fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer)

· 2.1 percent fare increase for passengers

· School group passengers fare will increase from $1 per group for a one-way trip to $5 per group for a one-way trip

For more information on the commission, and its ferry fare proposal and fare setting process, go to the transportation commission’s web site: www.wstc.wa.gov.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Joe Kunzler | Aug 10, 2017 21:33

Thanks for the news and good photo Nicholas!



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