Yesterday’s post highlighted ferry fare increases proposed by the WA State Transportation Commission and mentioned a meeting that will be held on the interisland ferry (from 2:15 to 5:05 p.m.) on Monday, July 25.
There will be a second meeting held that same day from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Friday Harbor in the San Juan County Council Legislative Building. This meeting will not be streamed for residents of other islands.
Hopefully there will be good representation from all islands at these meetings.
The following information is posted on the FAC site:
The San Juan County FAC fully supports the idea of a fare structure that would encourage the use of smaller cars, but we also believe that the current vehicle-length proposal has not been adequately studied or discussed, and is flawed, and therefore urge the Commission to postpone action on this item.
The vehicle-length proposal is to be revenue-neutral, which means that it does not help the current budget issue. And being revenue neutral, any reduction in fares for smaller vehicles must be offset by an increase in fares for other vehicles. Additionally, extending the standard vehicle fare from the long-standing 20 feet to 22 feet encourages larger vehicles, not smaller, and also represents a fare increase for standard-sized vehicles.
Besides the effect on fares, there are also operational issues involving vehicle measurement which we believe have not been adequately considered. Vehicle fares are collected westbound, not just in Anacortes but also at the terminals on Lopez, Shaw and Orcas island for westbound travel. Each of those terminals will be effected, and the need to measure or check vehicle length will likely result in delays and may impact on-time performance and vessel schedules.
These proposals effect everyone, and we encourage attendance at the upcoming meetings.
Access the San Juan County FAC web page is here.
Access the WSTC web page for this fare proposal here.
John Whetten (FAC member) also adds this information for your consideration:
Please note the Ferry Advisory Committee’s concern about the consequences of reducing the ferry fares for cars 14 feet and under (which, incidentally, would not include the Toyota Prius, which is 14.5 feet long). We certainly support a fare structure that encourages the use of smaller cars, but this proposal would not–because the “standard” car rate would cover cars up to 22 feet long (two feet longer than at present). Furthermore, car and driver fares are collected within the islands for westbound travel, and this proposal could be difficult to implement. Most “downsound” terminals have a ticket booth with lines painted on the pavement to indicate a car’s length. At Lopez, people park and then walk to the terminal to buy westbound tickets. There is no way to measure car lengths other than by measuring tape or yardstick, which would probably lead to delays and/or arguments. Your FAC urges postponement of this proposal until it can be considered and refined further.
The schedule for the interisland meeting isn’t bad. Get on the interisland that leaves Lopez at 1:05 p.m. Go directly to Friday Harbor and stay on the boat. You can attend 1 1/2 hours of the meeting and be back on Lopez by 3:40 p.m. (or stay on for the entire meeting and be back on Lopez again at 6:20 p.m.). The schedule for the evening meeting isn’t as good. Leave Lopez on the 3:45 p.m. interisland (catch the last part of the afternoon meeting), arrive in Friday Harbor at 5:05 p.m. The only boat back leaves at 10 p.m.