Seattle Transit Blog has a guest post by Anderson Island Ferry Issues Study Committee member Ann Dasch about the new Washington State Ferries (WSF) fare proposal, which the state transportation commission will discuss a final time tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 in the Puget Sound Regional Council board room, 1011 Western, Suite 500. Dasch argues that the new rates---which increase costs for youth passengers while actually decreasing fares for some vehicles---will discourage families and walk-on passengers, in particular, from riding ferries.
When WSF had growing ridership, they charged school aged children half the adult fare, just like seniors. During several fare changes since 1998, WSF reduced the youth discount – as well as the bulk discount on the 10-ride passenger pass – to its present level of 20% off. ...

Instead of increasing the youth discount, WSF’s new fare proposal decreases the youth discount and the 10-ride pass discounts, while it maintains the senior passenger discount and actually lowers fares for some vehicles. Drivers of small vehicles (
The ferry system has lost over 15% of its riders since 1999. Couldn’t the disproportionate fare increases on tickets purchased by families be a cause of those declines? The relationships between the fares matter. They influence rider behaviors, the mix of vehicles versus passengers, fare revenue collected, as well as the demographics of ferry dependent communities. Our government must fix the state’s ferry fare structure. The new plan makes it worse.

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