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Ferry system debuts colorful new tickets

"Washington State Ferries has issued a new series of coupon books. They're in color and they did cost a little more to print, ferry officials said Monday.Islanders have noticed that the new coupon book tickets look very different from the old ones. The new tickets have nine different background colors, according to Doug Choate, State Ferries' administrative services manager. And each one has a four-color separation print of the ferry Spokane in the middle, except for the passenger-only booklet tickets, which have a picture of a passenger-only boat.Choate said the new tickets didn't add much to costs. The system prints 500,000 booklets a year as a standard, and each booklet costs .1150 cents to print. That's up from .1129 cents per book for the old coupon books. The difference of .0021 cents per copy for 500,000 copies amounts to $1,050. Choate added that the cost includes an approximate $21,000 setup fee, which the system has paid four times in the past 10 years.Choate explained that WSF has a yearly contract to print the booklets, always with an option to continue the contract. But since there are only two companies in the country that still print the kind of tickets WSF uses in its coupon booklets, there is competition, and it often turns out to be less expensive to change vendors.The new tickets became necessary with the route changes involving Cross Sound tickets, which were changed to Central Sound, and because of the new refund rules, which are printed inside the cover of the booklets.At the same time, Choate explained, WSF needs to be able to tell the difference easily between the old and new tickets. "

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