Washington state ferry fares going up

SEATTLE  -- Get ready to pay more to ride Washington state ferries starting in October.  A proposal calls for raising passenger fares by 2 percent in October and then another 2 percent in May 2020.

Vehicle fares are going up as well; that’s 2.5 percent in October and then another 2.5 percent in May 2020.

The State Transportation Commission approved the plan to raise ferry prices over the next two years. That's after a final hearing Tuesday which included public comment.

The extra money would go toward building a new hybrid-electric ferry, converting two existing vessels to hybrids and day-to-day operating costs. However, some people think that other funding options should be considered here.

”We are considered part of the highway system and I don’t understand why its always looking at ferry ridership to fund the ferries,” said one woman in attendance.

Some are concerned that a fare increase could be challenging, especially for some senior citizens.  Today the commission, also approved two pilot programs.  One would test a special fare for low-income customers and the other would test the "Good to Go System" as a way to  collect ferry fares.