Washington Ferry Fares Could Increase

It’s not just toll fares that could soon become more expensive in Washington: ferry fares for passengers and vehicles could also increase by the end of the year.

At a Washington State Transportation Commission meeting on Tuesday, Washington State Ferry senior planning director Ray Deardorf explained that additional operating revenue of $ 9.2 million is expected to be generated by 2023 with an increase in tariffs by legislative requirement.

Three tariff increase projects are currently being studied by the committee. Under the first plan, passenger and vehicle fares would increase by 2.5% first in October 2021 and again by the same amount in October 2022. Drivers would pay 80 cents more in fares by the end. of the two-year period, while passengers would pay an additional 40 cents.

The second option considered by the committee would involve a 3.1% increase for vehicles from October 2021, with no change for foot passengers in 2021. However, in the second year, passenger and vehicle fares would increase by 2, 5%. For drivers, that would mean an additional 90 cents by the end of the two-year period, while passengers would only see an increase of 20 cents.

Deardolf said this plan was designed to encourage more foot passengers who are still below pre-pandemic levels.

The third and final plan would still result in a 2.5% increase in vehicle fares for the first and second year, but leave passenger fares unchanged for 2021. However, the following year’s fare increase for vehicles and passengers would then be earlier under this plan. , in May instead of October. Drivers would experience an increase of 80 cents from current fares by 2022, while passenger fares would increase by 20 cents.

The three plans would generate around $ 14.3 million in additional surcharges for drivers and passengers. For residents and stakeholders, the WSF will hold awareness meetings from May 25-26.

Washington’s ferry network is already depleted after the Wenatchee, which can hold 202 vehicles, was taken out of service following an engine room fire in April. Work is also underway on four other vessels, leaving just 16 vessels in service at least until the end of June. Usually 17-18 vessels are needed at this time of year.

Over the past week, several routes have been cut back to smaller vessels or seen one less vessel than normal just as spring and summer travel begins to pick up in the area.

“All of these changes are likely to increase waiting times for people driving a ferry on these routes,” said WSF spokesperson Justin Fujioka. “Customers can reduce or eliminate wait times by walking on the ferry and traveling early in the morning or late at night.”

The committee will decide on tariffs and toll amounts – which could increase by 15% on the Route 520 bridge and the Route 99 tunnel to offset the revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic – later in June, which will be adopted. later in the fall.

About Kevin Strickland

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