Ferry fares to increase May 1

Washington state ferry riders will see a fare increase on May 1, although the ferry system is increasing the discount for vehicles shorter than 14 feet.

Washington State Ferrie is implementing an across-the-board, 3-percent fare increase to help cover operating costs and meet revenue targets. This increase applies to all fare types, including vehicle/driver, walk-on, and multi-ride cards.

The State Transportation Commission approved the increase last August as part of its annual review of ferry fares. The state transportation budget requires the ferry system to meet an overall revenue target of $310 million that must be collected from ferry fares between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2013.

Single-ticket prices for vehicles will also increase 25 percent on all routes, except for the San Juan Islands where they will increase 35 percent, as part of a peak-season surcharge that begins in May. The seasonal surcharge helps pay for increased operational costs that come with increased traffic May through September.

Also beginning May 1 is a bigger discount for vehicles shorter than 14 feet. Drivers of small vehicles will now pay 20 percent less than drivers of standard-sized vehicles. The discount increases from 10 percent to 20 percent. Smaller vehicles are still subject to the 3-percent fare increase and seasonal surcharge.

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