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State seeks comment on ferry fare increase

The Washington Transportation Commission has begun public review and comment on a proposed ferry fare increase.

The proposal raises fares 5 percent each year for two years. It also reduces the passenger coupon discount from 25 to 20 percent and the youth fare discount from 30 to 20 percent.

If approved, the changes would take effect May 4.

The Commission will conduct nine open houses to gather comments, including one on Whidbey.

The public comment period ends March 20, when the Commission will conduct formal public hearings on the proposed increases.

The fare proposal was recommended by the Tariff Policy Committee to the Transportation Commission.

Topics to be discussed at the meeting include the general fare increase, passenger discount changes, San Juan Island pricing, commercial user discounts and reservation charges and flexibility to adjust the fares for market considerations.

The TPC will meet in mid-March to review the public comments and prepare final recommendations to the Transportation Commission at a public hearing scheduled March 20 in Seattle at a site to be determined.

At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Commission will take action on this proposal.

Customers can comment at the public meetings or send comments via e-mail to tariff@wsdot.wa.gov, fax them to 206-515-3773, send mail at Tariff Proposal, Washington State Ferries, 2911 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 or call toll-free 888-808-7977.

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