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WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES TO INTRODUCE NEW FARES ON SEPT. 20

 WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES TO INTRODUCE NEW FARES ON SEPT. 20
 SEATTLE, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- On Sept. 20, 1992, when the new Fall sailing schedule goes into effect, Washington State Ferries said today it will also introduce a new fare structure for users of the ferry system. These are the first tariff changes since 1987.
 Sixty-five percent of the Washington ferry users will not even notice the new tariff changes because the basic fares for walk-on passengers and for vehicle and driver remain the same.
 But there are some important changes.
 -- The peak season 20-percent surcharge for non-frequent user fares, which has been from mid-June to mid-September, will be extended from mid-May through mid-October. The surcharge is now also extended to commercial vehicles. This will begin in May 1993.
 -- The vehicle and driver fare has been redefined to include all vehicles under 20 feet in length. However, vehicles meeting this criteria but over 7 feet 6 inches tall must pay an additional 25-percent surcharge. An example would be vehicles with bicycle racks mounted on top of the vehicle. This surcharge will be applied to both regular and discounted commuter and senior citizen vehicle and driver fares.
 -- There is no longer a distinction between commercial and non- commercial vehicles. All vehicles over 20 feet in length, including buses, trucks and RVs, will be charged from the same rate schedule.
 The new tariff structure was developed after a year of study by a committee made up of legislators, ferry riders, industry representatives, State Department of Transportation officials and academic experts.
 The new fares are designed to be more equitable and consistent by basing charges on the space each vehicle uses on the ferry as opposed to the type of vehicle. According to ferry officials, the new tariff structure was not designed to raise revenues.
 "The old fare structure was too complicated," explained Thom Opheim, terminal operations manager. "We had 213 fare categories on 9 routes. We needed to simplify the process. Currently, an RV and a commercial vehicle, both the same size, pay different rates. Under the new structure, they will pay the same fare. Also, the new fare structure will improve the processing at the toll booth, making it more efficient and easier to understand."
 For example, the motorcycle fare has been reduced. The new fare more accurately charges the customer for the actual space a motorcycle occupies on the ferry.
 This new fare structure also encourages passengers to leave their vehicles behind by offering discounts for daily commuters. For instance, the new fare structure offers a 50-percent discount for the transit/ferry monthly pass (Ship to Shore pass) as opposed to the 40-percent discount previously offered.
 Fare changes for San Juan Islands customers will also include:
 -- Passengers with bicycles will pay the passenger fare plus a $2.50 surcharge at Anacortes only; inter-island travel is free.
 -- Vehicles traveling westbound on the San Juan Islands, may request a free transfer for an intermediate island when paying for passage to their primary destination. This transfer is good for 24 hours.
 -- Vehicles 20 feet or longer traveling to one of the San Juan Islands may pay $2.50 at Anacortes for a stopover at an intermediate island, which is good for 24 hours.
 There will be no changes in the fares for auto/driver frequent-user books and passenger frequent-user books.
 The new fare structure will go into effect on Sept. 20.
 -0- 8/27/92
 /CONTACT: Susan Harris-Huether of the Washington State Ferries, 206-464-7265/ CO: Washington State Ferries ST: Washington IN: TRN SU:


JH-MC -- SE010 -- 3935 08/27/92 12:09 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 27, 1992
Words:598
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