Fare increases floated by Washington State Ferries

A group overseeing transportation in the state wants to know how ferry riders would feel about two increases in fares and a hike in a surcharge.

The Washington State Transportation Commission recently released a plan to generate an increase of $407 million in fare revenue between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2021.

Lawmakers tasked the commission with setting fares and the surcharge at a level that meet numbers in the two-year state transportation budget.

For fare increases for Oct. 1 of the year, the commission is proposing a 2.5 percent hike for vehicles and a 2 percent increase for passengers, according to the commission.

On May 1, 2020, there would be a 2.5 percent fare increase for small- and standard-sized vehicles and a 2 percent fare increase for passengers.

Also, the capital surcharge increase of 25 cents would be added; the money is dedicated to the construction of a new ferry.

Currently, the fare for a standard-fixed vehicle and driver is $11.40 on the route between Clinton and Mukilteo.

Under the plan, the fare would be $11.69 in October and $12.23 beginning in May of 2020.

The commission will hold its final hearing on the fare proposal from 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Board Room, 1011 Western Ave., Suite 500, Seattle. Public comment will be taken and the commission is expected to vote on the final fare and policy changes at this hearing.

Through Monday, July 29, the public is encouraged to provide comments on all of the proposed fare changes. Comments can be provided on the commission’s online open house, which has information about the fare proposal and allows people to “vote” on each proposed change. It’s at ferryfarecomments.participate.online or email to transc@wstc.wa.gov, with “ferry fares” in the subject line.

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