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Tariff committee seeks input on ferries

Washington State Ferries has scheduled for a series of Tariff Policy Committee meetings to collect public comment on the 2005-2007 Tariff proposal.

Topics include fare increases and the reconfiguration of the commuter book process.

It’s certain the current bulk coupon practice will give way to an electronic system by the end of this year, but the current 90-day limit for ticket expiration may change.

Within this context, anything is possible. One proposal cuts the 90-day period by two-thirds. Under the 30-day limit, daily commuters would still need to purchase two 20-ticket blocs each month.

This new policy would affect those who but a ticket book at a discount but only take sporadic trips.

One proposal suggests tickets with a 30-day limit are issued at the lowest rate, with a 60-day slightly higher “convenience rate” also available.

“I have mixed feelings about this,” said Bremerton Ferry Board member Fred Chang. “But we probably have to redefine what a commuter is. This was never intended to be a discount book.”

“The question is, should you get a discount just because you live here?” said tariff policy committee head Alice Tawresey.

Information about the proposal will be available at the terminals and on the ferries Feb. 1. The final modified document will go into effect — along with an annual 5 percent fare hike — on May 1.

“We have a good history of listening to people,” said Tawresey. “Nothing is set in concrete.”

Added WSF spokesperson Susan Harris, “Every time we’ve held these hearings we’ve gotten a different perspective and have changed our approach based on this outreach.”

Customers can comment at the public meetings, via email (tariff@wsdot.wa.gov) fax (206) 515-3773 phone (888) 808-7977 or postal mail: Tariff Proposal, Washington State Ferries, 2911 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121-1012

Thirteen meetings are planned, with four in Kitsap County. These include

Feb. 9 at John Sedgwick Junior High at Port Orchard; Feb. 15 at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton; Feb. 16 at the Kingston Cove Yacht Club; and, Feb. 17 at the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal.

All take place from 7 to 9 p.m., except for the Bainbridge meeting, which is from 4 to 7 p.m.

For more information, call Susan Harris at (206) 515-3460.

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