Ferry fare increase, beginning May 1

Bound for Anacortes, the Sealth sails out of Friday Harbor.   - File photo
Bound for Anacortes, the Sealth sails out of Friday Harbor.
— image credit: File photo

Ferry fares will rise by 3 percent beginning May 1, as Washington State Ferries embarks on its peak travel season.

Approved in August by the state Transportation Commission, that 3 percent across-the-board fare increase is expected to help Ferries cover its operating costs and meet budgeted revenue targets, and it applies to all fare categories, including vehicle-and-driver, walk-on and multi-ride cards. The ferry system must generate $310 million from ticket sales by June 30, 2013, to meet the targeted revenue mark included in the state's most recent transportation budget.

Carrying 23 million passengers and 10 million a year, WSF operates the nation's largest ferry system. Revenue from fares cover roughly 66 percent of Ferries' $220 million annual operating costs, or $150 million. However, the rate of fare-box the San Juans, at 43 percent, is lower than most other routes.

As part of the pending May 1 fare hike, discounts for vehicles shorter than 14 feet will increase, however. Drivers of small vehicles will pay 20 percent less than drivers of standard-sized vehicles, compared to a 10 percent discount currently in effect. Smaller vehicles are still subject to the three percent fare increase and seasonal surcharge.

Single-ticket prices for vehicles will also increase 25 percent on all routes, except for the San Juan Islands where they will increase 35 percent, as part of a peak-season surcharge that begins in May. The seasonal surcharge helps pay for increased operational costs that come with increased traffic May through September.

To find the fare for your route and mode of travel, see WSF's new fare brochure.



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