Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Changes afloat for ferries passengers

By Justin Fujioka

The weather’s cooling down, leaves are turning colors and you’ve probably started smelling pumpkin spice at your local coffee joint. Fall has arrived and change is in the air. ….and on the water as well.

A new ferry sailing schedule and adjusted fares start Sunday, Oct. 1.

Fall sailing schedule
With less sunshine and cooler temperatures, fewer people are taking recreational trips. Because of changing demand, we do some minor tweaks to our ferry sailing schedule this time of year. Our fall sailing schedule is available online and runs through Jan. 6, 2018.

Beginning in October, the Anacortes/San Juan Islands/Sidney, B.C. route will be on a four-boat schedule instead of five. There will also be fewer weekend sailings on the Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth and Mukilteo/Clinton routes. The Port Townsend/Coupeville route will have one vessel instead of two, through spring.
Fall is here and with it comes changes to both our ferry schedules and fares.

Adjusted fares
Passengers can expect to pay between 5 to 15 cents more per ride on most routes (40 cents more per ride on the Anacortes/Sidney, B.C. route)  and an increase in standard sized vehicle base fares between 15 to 55 cents more per ride on most routes ($1.55 more for people driving a vehicle onboard the Anacortes/Sidney, B.C. route).

The Washington State Transportation Commission set new ferry fares in July. But here’s where it gets a little tricky. …some of you will be paying less, because the last day of our peak season surcharge is Sept. 30. The peak season surcharge has been in place for customers with a vehicle since the 1970s for congestion management.

In addition, drivers of vehicles under 14 feet in length may be asked to provide written or electronic documentation of their vehicle length to staff in the tollbooth. Bicycles towing kayaks or canoes will now pay the motorcycle/driver fare. The WSTC made that decision following public input to lower fare proposed increases for walk-on passengers and most bicyclists.

So how much will you be paying come Oct. 1? Use our calendar feature to calculate your new fare – and to count down the days till the start of winter!