FERRY FARES: Comment time for 2 increase options

(WSB file photo)

Ferry fares are going up – they have to, to keep up with the fare-generated funding required by state law. As discussed during last week’s Washington State Ferries community meetings, there are two alternatives. The state Transportation Commission makes the decision, not WSF, and the commission is now asking your opinion on the options:

Alternative 1: 2.5% increase applied to all fares on October 2021 and 2022

Raises passenger and vehicle fares 2.5% in October of each year.

This approach spreads the fare increase equally between vehicles and walk-on passengers.

Alternative 2: Passenger fares remain unchanged in 2021 but increase in October 2022, and vehicle fares increase in 2021 & 2022

Passenger fares do not increase in October 2021.
Vehicle fares increase 3.1% in October 2021.
In 2022, both passenger and vehicle fares increase 2.5% in October.

This approach continues to encourage walk-on passengers which continue to be significantly below pre-pandemic levels.

Go here to comment by June 10th. The commission will settle on one by early July, and the final decision is expected in October.

17 Replies to "FERRY FARES: Comment time for 2 increase options"

  • John June 1, 2021 (2:50 pm)

    Or the state could cut the pork in the budget and properly fund WSF!

    • Jeff June 1, 2021 (6:34 pm)

      What portion of ferry service do you believe should be covered by fares, and why?    As it is (and always is) they are paying a pittance while the rest of everyone pays the taxes to keep wealthy Vashon residents in easy cheap commute range of the city. 

      • bill June 1, 2021 (10:01 pm)

        The extension of Jeff’s argument is that every bridge should be tolled so only people using them pay for them.

        • Jeff June 2, 2021 (7:59 am)

          Or more generally, one person’s pork is another’s essential infrastructure and services.  

      • Ivan Weiss June 2, 2021 (5:47 pm)

        Maybe Jeff is unaware that ferry passengers’ fares fund the ferry service at a higher percentage than any other public transportation mode in the state.

  • Jort June 1, 2021 (4:55 pm)

    Where is the option to increase fares ONLY for private automobiles? It would be nice if people’s purported concerns about climate change correlated with the fare-increase priority they choose, but something tells me that Car Brain Disease will make people want to ensure walk-on passengers equally share the financial, societal and environmental burdens of driving.

    • bill June 1, 2021 (10:19 pm)

      If you increase auto fares too much people will drive around, which is surely environmentally worse than transporting cars on ferries. I would like to know if there is a straightforward explanation of fare allocation we can read somewhere. My impression from a few simpleminded calculations is total collections from foot passengers and drivers are roughly equal, and correspond to the roughly equal amounts of deck space available for each mode. I am more than willing to be proven wrong.

  • bob June 1, 2021 (6:30 pm)

     if people really had to pay what it cost to ride the ferry they would freak out. The ferry is already costing the tax payers 75% of every rider 

  • CarDriver June 1, 2021 (7:08 pm)

    John.  “pork” wouldn’t exist if there weren’t individuals and businesses HAPPY to get and take money from the government.  Don’t blame the politicians for giving their constituants what they want. Blame your friends/neighbors/business owners for HAPPILY taking the money!! Tell us what they say when you tell them to refuse the money.

    • bill June 1, 2021 (9:53 pm)

      Hey Cardriver, I’d gladly take any money the government wants to give me. Can you tell me how to get it? You seem to have inside info. Please spill.

  • Spoked June 1, 2021 (8:40 pm)

    How about making walk on and bike passengers FREE for the next few years and increase cost to drivers. That might convert some cars to other modes, better for traffic, and the environment.

    • Ferry June 2, 2021 (10:43 am)

      Maybe, or it might just make more cars drive around individually instead of using mass transit.

  • Joe Z June 1, 2021 (8:49 pm)

    I also commented that climate change and GHG emissions should be taken into consideration when setting fares. 

  • BigB June 1, 2021 (10:00 pm)

    Rates should be applied by weight and volume.

    • Ferry June 2, 2021 (10:45 am)

      Rates are currently applied by vehicle length.

  • AlexVI June 3, 2021 (2:00 pm)

    As someone who commutes a couple days a week (not currently with Covid but will again soon hopefully) a 2.5% or even a 3.1% increase in fares seems totally fine. I mean that doesn’t even really keep pace with what a normal inflation rate is anyway. I’d love for everything to stay the same price forever but I’ll pay the extra $4.19 or $5.20 a month, it’s just part of life. My vote (if I’m allowed) however would be for a flat 2.5% for everyone. If you want to get creative though I’d like to see a weekend peak hour price and make the tourists pay for it ;) I’m curious though does this increase actually apply to the commuter card price? If not then it’s really a moot issue for locals. 

Sorry, comment time is over.