Kitsap Transit to seek public input about rapid-ferry service

BREMERTON — Kitsap Transit staff rolled out their initial proposal for a fare structure for the fast ferry system when the project gets underway next summer.

Kitsap Transit staff presented it to the board of commissioners at a Dec. 20 study session. The final fare schedule will need to be approved by the nine-person commission, as well as generate discussion and feedback out of a series of public meetings starting in January 2017. The four-page proposal can be viewed at www.kitsap transit.com/uploads/pdf/board/2016-12-20-board-meeting-presentation-pof-fare-structure.pdf.

The proposed fares apply only to the cross-Sound foot ferries. The regular fares are $2 for eastbound travel and $10 for westbound. The same fare applies whether purchasing a ticket with cash or on an ORCA card. For reduced-fare passengers such as seniors and disabled, the fare is half that price. A monthly unlimited pass is $168, with a reduced fare of $84 for seniors, children and disabled.

Combined monthly pass prices (covering both a bus ride on Kitsap Transit and the passenger-only ferry) would total $196.20 — a 10-percent discount from the full fare. Reduced fare would be $98.

One concern expressed by critics of the passenger-only ferry proposal is the effect it may have on parking and traffic in and around the ferry dock.

“We’re trying to design a fare schedule that will give people the incentive to take the bus to the terminal,” said Sanjay Bhatt, Kitsap Transit spokesman.

Kitsap Transit is also using the fare schedule to encourage people to pay the fare with an ORCA card, not cash.

The public will have the opportunity to comment on the fare proposal through a series of fare policy community meetings in January. The times and dates of those meetings are:

n 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11, Harborside Building, second floor, 60 Washington Ave., Bremerton.

n 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Village Green Community Center, 26159 Dulay Road NE, Kingston.

n 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19, Harper Church, 10384 SE Sedgwick Road, Port Orchard.

n 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Jan. 21, locations to be determined.

More information, including project summaries, is at the project website, www.kitsapferries.com.

Mark Briant is a reporter for the Central Kitsap Reporter and the Bremerton Patriot. He can be reached at mbriant@soundpublishing.com.

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