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Public meetings slated to discuss proposed ferry fare changes

Proposed ferry fare adjustments are the focus of a series of public input meetings being held by the Washington State Transportation Commission.

A local meeting will be hosted from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 1 at the Silverdale Beach Hotel, 3073 NW Bucklin Hill Road.

The Commission approved a new fare proposal at its July meeting and will host public input meetings in late August and early September. Comments received will be considered prior to final adoption of the existing or a modified fare proposal, which would go into effect Oct. 11, 2009. The entire fare proposal can be found on the Commission’s Web site at www.wstc.wa.gov.

The proposal includes these elements:

• Applying a 2.5 percent across-the-board general fare increase.

• Making the in-need organization discount permanent (now a pilot program).

• Allowing WSF to collect between 25 to 100 percent of the applicable fare as a non-refundable deposit for advance vehicle reservations on routes with a reservation system. This would be a pre-payment of a portion of or the entire fare and is not an additional fee.

• Eliminating the tollbooth surcharge for multi-ride fare purchases (which had not been implemented).

• Moving toward further implementation of tariff equity affecting San Juan inter-island fares by adding 5 percent on top of the 2.5 percent general increase.

• Allowing WSF flexibility to enter into agreements with fire districts for free passage when on emergency calls in lieu of payment for fire protection services at ferry terminals.

• Applying a 10 percent “peak summer surcharge” to only single-fare purchases (not applicable to multi-ride/frequent-user fares). The peak summer surcharge would be in effect between the end of June and the day after Labor Day.

In addition to the Silverdale meeting, the following time and locations are slated:

• Monday, Aug. 31: San Juan Islands, on board the Sealth (interisland ferry), departs Friday Harbor at 11:35 a.m., Orcas at 12:30 p.m., Shaw at 12:45 p.m., Lopez at 1:05 p.m., and returns to Friday Harbor at 1:55 p.m.

• Wednesday, Sept. 2: Vashon Island, 6–8 p.m., McMurray Middle School, Multipurpose room, 9329 Cemetery Road, Vashon.

• A formal public hearing will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 8, from 1 to 5 p.m. in Seattle at the Puget Sound Regional Council, 1011 Western Ave., Suite 500.

The Commission will take no action during the public input meetings. Commissioners are, however, expected to vote to either adopt or modify the fare proposal following additional input at the public hearing in Seattle. People who would like to comment, but cannot attend the public input meetings or the hearing in Seattle, can submit their comments to the Commission via letter, e-mail or telephone, no later than 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 4, 2009. Contact the Commission at:

WSTC

PO Box 47308

Olympia, WA 98504-7308

E-mail: transc@wsdot.wa.gov

Telephone: (360) 705-7070

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