Transportation commission votes to raise ferry fares

File: Washington State ferry

SEATTLE — After hearing input from ferry riders during four public hearings and reviewing hundreds of emails, the  Washington Transportation Commission voted to increase ferry fares over the next two years.

The commission changed its original proposal because the public was most concerned with increases to passenger fares and bicycles with trailers.

In response, the commission reduced the passenger fare increase in 2017 from 2.5 percent to 2.1 percent. It also applied a fare increase to bikes towing a kayak or canoe, but did not change the fare for bicyclists towing other types of trailers.

Most vehicle and passenger fares will increase this October and again in Oct. 2018.

The final ferry fare adjustments adopted by the commission will take effect as follows:

October 1, 2017

  • 2.9 percent fare increase for small and standard sized vehicles
  • 0.8 percent to 1.8 percent fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer), depending on vehicle size
  • 2.1 percent fare increase for passengers
  • Passengers who bring bicycles towing kayaks or canoes will pay the motorcycle/stowage fare. All other bicyclists towing items other than a kayak or canoe would continue to pay the same fare as today (bicycle surcharge plus the passenger fare).

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October 1, 2018

  • 2.5 percent fare increase for small and standard sized vehicles
  • No fare increase for oversized vehicles (22 feet and longer)
  • 2.1 percent fare increase for passengers
  • School Group passengers' fare will increase from $1 per group for a one-way trip to $5 per group for a one-way trip

So by 2018, walk-on passengers would pay $8.55 and cars would pay $15.35.

The commission must ensure ferry fares generate $381 million by June 30, 2019, as required in the recently passed two-year state transportation budget for Washington State Ferry operations.

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