No charge for under-19 Washington State Ferries riders starting Saturday – with one exception

(Photo by Ann Anderson – state ferry off Duwamish Head during recent smoky sunset)

Starting Saturday, Washington State Ferries will no longer charge people under 19 – with one exception. Here’s the reminder WSF sent today:

Starting Saturday, October 1, youth will board for free as a result of this year’s Move Ahead Washington transportation package. The law directs transit agencies to provide free fares for passengers 18 and under across the state.

The legislation applies only to youth riding as a passenger in a vehicle and those walking onto a state ferry. It does not include teenagers behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Drivers under 19 years old will continue to pay the adult vehicle and driver fare.

Because of this change, youth tickets are no longer available at self-serve kiosks and online. However, youth walking onto a ferry will still need a ticket or a valid ORCA card to board at terminals where one is currently needed. Terminal employees at the ticket booth can issue the free-fare youth tickets, which will be valid for two hours.

5 Replies to "No charge for under-19 Washington State Ferries riders starting Saturday - with one exception"

  • Chemist September 29, 2022 (10:14 pm)

    Did the announcement detail what’s happening with youths with bicycles and the $1-4 bike surcharge?  Today that 17 year old with a bike who pedals onto the Seattle to Bremerton ferry will pay $4.60 as a youth passenger fare and $1 for the bicycle surcharge.  It sounds like the youth passenger fare is getting set to 0-18 $0 on this pricing chart but youths with bike vehicles seems unaddressed.

    • WSB September 29, 2022 (10:27 pm)

      Good question! I can’t find any version of WSF’s reminder that addresses it. If I can’t find it (or a sleuthy reader can’t), will ask WSF tomorrow.

  • anonyme September 30, 2022 (6:15 am)

    Why just youth and not older people, who previously shared the same fare rate?  The same goes for recent changes to bus fares.  It would appear that this state’s contempt for old people is being codified into law.

  • jim September 30, 2022 (9:48 am)

    I don’t find this to be in line with the age of majority in Washington  (18) – seventeen maybe, but I feel that eighteen year olds should be paying their own way and not have me paying it for them – Their considered adults in the eyes of the law – they should carry the full weight of an adult. Not all of us make 6 figure salaries in West Seattle

    • Chemist September 30, 2022 (5:20 pm)

      It could be an age limit to make sure most high school age kids are included, or to make any future campaigns that push for free transit have a whole 18 year old voting block that’s enjoying free transit and might be extra motivated by the possibility of losing it on their birthday. 

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