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Cha-ching; double dose of ferry fare hikes in store

A double-dose increase on ferry fares begins Oct. 1 with a across-the-board 2 percent hike on passenger fares and 3 percent spike on vehicle fares. A second and similar round of price hikes begins May 1.  - Journal file photo
A double-dose increase on ferry fares begins Oct. 1 with a across-the-board 2 percent hike on passenger fares and 3 percent spike on vehicle fares. A second and similar round of price hikes begins May 1.
— image credit: Journal file photo

The cost to ride onboard the state ferry system will rise by 2 percent for passengers and 3 percent for vehicles beginning Oct. 1.

On July 30, the Washington State Transportation Commission approved a double dose of across-the-board ferry fare increases as a means of meeting a new revenue target set by the state legislature in the 2013-15 transportation budget. The October spike will be followed by a similar increase — 2 percent on passenger fares and 2.5 percent for vehicles — starting May 1.

The uptick in fares is intended to cover an increase in Washington State Ferries' operating revenue, enacted by the legislature in the state's latest two-year transportation budget. The targeted increase in revenue generated by fares — $328 million — represents a 6-percent increase over the amount WSF was expected to collect through fares — $310 million — in the previous biennial budget.

Although the increase ratified by the transportation commission applies to all ferry fares, it will be offset by reductions in some categories. Vehicles less than 14 feet in length will pay 70 percent of the standard auto fare (14 to less than 22 feet) and the discounted rate for youth fares, currently at 20 percent, will increase to 50 percent off the standard fare price.

The fare increase for the international run — Anacortes to Sidney — will be slightly higher than the general fare hike. Vehicle and passenger fares will climb by 4.1 percent on Oct. 1, followed by a 2.5 percent increase on May. 1. Under the recently approved fare schedule riders will also have an option to purchase round-trip tickets to and from Friday Harbor and Sidney.

Find detailed information on ticket prices and fare schedules at the transportation commission webiste, www.wstc.wa.gov.

 

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