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State Ferry Fares to Rise up to 6 Pct. over Next Year

Tom Banse

Fares on Washington state ferries are going up again.

On Tuesday, the Washington State Transportation Commission approved a two-stage increase. The fare increases are designed to meet a $328 million revenue target set by the state Legislature.

State Ferries Director David Moseley says the fare hike will mostly just maintain the status quo.

"We are not, unfortunately, in a financial condition to make substantial improvements to the system,” he said. “Our job is to do what we can as cost-effectively as we can to maintain and preserve the level of service that we have today.”

Effective Oct. 1, passenger fares will increase 2 percent and vehicle fares by 3 percent. Passenger fares will go up another 2 percent and vehicle fares 2.5 percent on May 1, 2014. The aim is to encourage walk-on riders. 

It's not all bad news. Families traveling on the state ferries may appreciate a bigger discount on children's tickets. The youth discount widens to 50 percent off the adult fare starting in the fall.

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.