Washington State Transportation Commission seeks public comment on ferry fare increases

Edmonds-Kingston ferry file photo by LeRoy VanHee.

The Washington State Transportation Commission is required to adjust ferry fares every two years and is seeking input from the public on fare increase alternatives. The deadline to leave your feedback is June 10.

Fare recommendations are based upon the transportation budget passed by the 2021 State Legislature. The budget requires $377 million to be generated from fares over the two-year timeframe, which requires an additional $9.2 million in fare revenues. This equates to an estimated 2.5% fare increase if applied across-the-board to all fares.

On May 18, Washington State Ferries presented fare change options that will meet legislative funding requirements:

Alternative 1: 2.5% increase applied to all fares on October 2021 and 2022

  • Raises passenger and vehicle fares 2.5% in October of each year.
  • This approach spreads the fare increase equally between vehicles and walk-on passengers.

Alternative 2: Passenger fares remain unchanged in 2021 but increase in October 2022, and vehicle fares increase in 2021 and 2022

  • Passenger fares do not increase in October 2021.
  • Vehicle fares increase 3.1% in October 2021.
  • In 2022, both passenger and vehicle fares increase 2.5% in October.
  • This approach continues to encourage walk-on passengers, which continue to be significantly below pre-pandemic levels.

Comments are invited via the online public input form.

After June 10, the commission will select its fare change proposal and will seek additional public comment.

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