State ferry fares climb, starting this week

Traveling on a Washington State Ferry will be more expensive starting Thursday.

That’s when an across-the-board fare hike for vehicles and walk-on riders takes effect, the latest increase aimed at keeping the cash-strapped ferry system on an even financial keel.

Passenger fares are going up 2 percent and vehicle fares 2.5 percent under a proposal approved last year by the state Transportation Commission.

Also Thursday, the annual seasonal surcharge kicks in, temporarily bumping up the cost of one-way fares for vehicles and motorcyclists; the increase can be a few quarters or up to a few dollars. The amount of the surcharge, collected through Sept. 30, varies depending on the route and vehicle length. No surcharge is added to Wave2Go multi-ride tickets or for passengers, both walk-ons and in vehicles.

Here’s how the double dose of increases adds up on a few select routes.

Drivers of a standard length car — between 14 and 22 feet — will find the regular one-way fare for the Mukilteo-Clinton route climbing from its current $8.10 to $8.30 due to the fare hike, and to $10.30 with the summer surcharge.

For motorcyclists on this route, the one-way fare is rising to $3.75, plus another 90 cents with the surcharge. Walk-on passengers face an increase of a nickel to $4.80.

On the Edmonds-Kingston route, the one-way fare for a standard length vehicle plus driver is going up from $13.55 to $13.90, and will be $17.30 during the summer.

And for travelers on the Coupeville-Port Townsend route, the change will push the regular fare from $10.50 to $10.75; and to $13.40 with the summer surcharge.

This week’s permanent fare increase comes seven months after a similar-sized adjustment in the price of most one-way travel on Washington’s marine highway system. Both hikes were needed to meet budget goals set by the Legislature.

Lawmakers wanted operators of the state ferry system to raise $328 million in revenue from fares for the 2013-15 budget cycle which was about 6 percent more than it had collected the previous two years.

At this time, there are no more fare increases on the drawing board.

That could change if lawmakers decide next year they want the ferry system to raise more revenue from fares for its day-to-day operations, according to WSF planning director Ray Deardorf.

In anticipation of such a possibility, the Ferry Advisory Committee on Tariff may begin meeting again later this year or early next year to discuss issues around fares, he said in an email.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

Jim Mathis, the Vietnam veteran whose Marysville garden was recently featured in The Herald, died Wednesday. Mathis, who suffered from PTSD and cancer, found solace in his beautiful garden. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Vietnam veteran Jim Mathis found peace in his garden

The Marysville man who served two tours died Wednesday after suffering from cancer and PTSD.

Smith Island habitat restoration cost to rise $1.2 million

The project is intended to increase survival rates for juvenile chinook salmon.

Add deputies and bump taxes a bit, executive proposes

Dave Somers’ Snohomish County budget proposal also would address traffic problems in neighborhoods.

County councilman proposes banning safe injection sites

Nate Nehring says county officials also should find “credible, long-term solutions to addiction.”

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

They chose the longshot candidate to fill a vacant seat

Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick will serve as representative for the 39th legislative district.

Bicyclist injured in collision with SUV on Highway 204

A bicyclist was injured Saturday after colliding with a… Continue reading

Police: Officers shoot man during standoff at home

The man placed his arm through a window and pointed a handgun at officers.

Most Read