Ferry Fare

News from the Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee.

Hold the schedule presses!Route changes on hold

The plans to change the Washington State Ferries Kingston-Edmonds ferry route schedule for this winter were canceled to allow WSF more time to think it over.

Ferry talk

WSF’s operations director will be at our Jan. 6 meeting to answer questions and take comments on ferry and ferry dock operations.

The plan hatched – again

The draft, long-range ferry plan is going to be released in mid-December and we’ll be handing out pamphlets to the public. Public hearings will be held the first two weeks of January. Check the WSF Web site for updates and stay tuned …

Kingston’s position

The Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee sent out this position paper last month. Here are some details.

Mission: WSF needs a business plan that focuses on affordable transportation, enhancements to improve efficiency, keeping ferries accessible to regular riders and those who are dependent on ferries, and meeting scheduled arrival times.

Reservations: If properly implemented, reservations should reduce congestion and terminal costs and make better use of existing ferry capacity. The system must ensure ease of use by frequent travelers, a priority for riders who depend on ferries, and commercial traffic, and be able to accommodate short-notice travel needs. We do not support reservation fees but we do support a no-show penalty from the reservation of a pre-paid ticket.

Fares: We do not support any fare increases beyond adjustments for inflation. We strongly oppose any reduction in frequent-user discounts or restrictions on their use. We support the policy under which all riders pay the same rate per mile. Any proposed fare change should require informing riders of proposed change, public hearings, formal review by the ferry advisory committees and an avenue of appeal beyond the State Transportation Commission.

Strategies: We support reducing congestion with full car discounts, small vehicle discounts and incentives to encourage foot passengers. We oppose peak pricing in any form as this would impose significant costs on riders without benefit. We believe reservations are a better way to address congestion. All ferry strategies should have a formal assessment of their impact on riders and communities.

Capacity: We support building ferries to sustain the current capacity. Where extra ferries are available, using one as a summer overflow boat on the Kingston-Edmonds route would both reduce congestion and make money.

Traffic: We support reservations and using an existing parking lot as an auxiliary holding area to reduce Kingston’s traffic. In the long term, we recommend building a holding area out by Lindvog and rerouting all ferry traffic to 1st Street. There is also an immediate need to improve current holding-lot operations.

Financing: There needs to be a state-wide solution to fund ferries. If WSF is not sustainable then it is the Washingston State Department of Transportation that is not sustainable. We also think that WSF needs to place greater emphasis on reducing costs.

Policy: We believe that riders and local governments should have a role in operations decisions that is commensurate with the revenue we contribute. While rider surveys are fine for collecting data, they should not be used to represent rider views unless concurred to the FAC beforehand. We consider it essential WSF coordinate and cooperate with the Port of Kingston in establishing a passenger-only ferry service.

Contact the Kingston Ferry Advisory Committee at (360) 297-2845 or elliottmoore@comcast.net.