State Transportation Commission proposes ferry fare increase

A ferry navigates through the sailboats off Edmonds in May 2021. (File photo by Julia Wiese)

Now through July 30, Washington State Ferries customers and others will have another opportunity to comment on a proposed 2.5% across-the-board increase in ferry fares each year for the next two years.

To meet the Legislature’s revenue expectations for ferries, based on the 2021-2023 transportation budget, the Washington State Transportation Commission put forth two fare increase options for public input. The commission earlier this week selected its ferry fare increase proposal, based on that input, and will gather public comment on this fare proposal through July.

The commission is proposed fare increase would be applied to all fares, noting that this approach spreads the fare increase equally between vehicles and walk-on passengers. The increase would be applied in both October 2021 and 2022. Information on the proposed fare increase can be found on the commission’s web site at:  2021-2023 Ferry Fare Setting – Washington State Transportation Commission.

The commission is also proposing a policy change for how a vanpool is defined to ensure the policy matches current law. The proposal decreases the required number of people to be considered a vanpool from the current five people, to three people, adjusting the fares accordingly.

Comments on the commission’s ferry fare proposal can be made through Friday, July 30, at Commission Feedback – Washington State Transportation Commission, or by email: transc@wstc.wa.gov

The commission will hold a final hearing on the ferry fare proposal 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, when it is expected to take action on the proposal. The commission will be taking public comment at the hearing, which will be held virtually. Registration will be required to attend. To register and learn more,  visit the commission’s website: www.wstc.wa.gov

Before selecting its proposed fare increase, the commission issued two fare increase alternatives in late May for public review via an online forum. Over 1,000 people voted and commented on the following fare change options:

Alternative 1: 

2.5% increase applied to all fares in October 2021 and 2022

Alternative 2:

  • Passenger fares remain unchanged in 2021 and increase 2.5% in October 2022
  • Vehicle fares increase 3.1% in October 2021 and increase 2.5% in October 2022.

For more information about the commission and complete meeting agendas, visit www.wstc.wa.gov/meetings/

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