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Ferry fare increase and changes adopted

PRESS RELEASE: A 2.5 percent general ferry fare increase takes effect October 1, 2011 with an additional 3 percent general fare increase beginning May 1, 2012. The May 2012 increase is intended to preclude the need for an increase in October 2012.

Other changes adopted are a new size category for cars less than 14-feet long. The fare will be reduced to 90 percent now with the goal of 70 percent within three years. Standard vehicle size is redefined as 14 to 22 feet - up from 20-feet. This should include most SUVs, pickups and mini-vans.

· The annual bicycle permit is eliminated and passengers paying with monthly passes, multi-ride cards, or an ORCA ePurse will be allowed to bring bicycles on board without additional charge. In the San Juan Islands, only passengers using multi-ride cards would be exempt from the bicycle surcharge.

A fuel surcharge mechanism is put in place as a way to pay for unexpected spikes in fuel prices not funded under the current budget. The surcharge mechanism will only be triggered when fuel costs exceed the currently-funded average fuel price of $3.86 per gallon, by 2.5 percent.

This means Washington State Ferry's (WSF) fuel prices would have to increase to at least $4.08 per gallon to activate the surcharge. WSF will review fuel costs on a quarterly basis and, depending on fuel prices at the time of review, the surcharge may be applied, removed or adjusted higher or lower.

The maximum surcharge amount is capped at 10 percent. Any changes to the surcharge will require a 30-day advanced notice to customers.

· A system-wide capital surcharge of 25 cents per fare is added. The surcharge is required by law and is dedicated to funding WSF vessel replacement. The 25 cent surcharge will be assessed on every ticket issued, whether a one-way or roundtrip fare. Multi-ride and monthly passes will reflect the total per-ticket price.

For more information about the commission or the adopted fare changes, visit the WEBSITE


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