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July 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Poll: Should state ferry rates go up for adults but down for kids?

A state ferry transits the San Juan Islands, with Mount Baker in the background. (photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

A state ferry transits the San Juan Islands, with Mount Baker in the background. (photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

The round-trip fare for a standard car and driver riding on Washington State Ferries to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands would top the ouch-worthy $60 mark by next summer under proposed fare increases. But a family of four including two teenagers would pay a little less than they’re paying this summer for that same trip.

The fare break for families is part of a special provision in the fare package now being aired in a slate of hearings by the Washington State Transportation Commission.

The plan calls for a 2-percent passenger rate increase and 3-percent vehicle fare increase in October, followed by another 2-percent passenger increase and 2.5-percent vehicle increase next May. The increases would affect all routes, not just the San Juans, and the Transportation Commission says rates must go up to meet legislative mandates. See the full proposal here.

But while other rates go up, the passenger fare for youths, ages 6-18, who now pay 80 percent of the adult fare, would be chopped to about 50 percent of full fare. The proposal is intended to “provide more affordable travel options for families,” according to the Transportation Commission’s website. Kids younger than 6 will continue to ride for free and adults 65 and older will continue to get half off.

So while that family of four pays $89.80 to get to Friday Harbor this summer, the fare would total $86.80 next summer under the new proposal. (The math: Current fares are $57.35 for standard car and driver; $12.45 for full-fare passenger; $10 each for two youth fares. Next summer’s proposed fares: $60.65 for standard car and driver; $12.95 for full-fare passenger; $6.60 each for two youth fares.)

Good idea? Bad idea? Take our poll:

 

 

 

 

Comments | More in Ferries, Northwest | Topics: ferry discount for kids, ferry fare increase, ferry fares

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