The Transportation Commission is responsible for setting ferry fares and policies for Washington State Ferries.
Created in 1951, the Washington State Ferry system is the largest ferry system in the United States and the third largest system in the world. Nearly 23 million people ride the ferries each year. There are 20 terminals located on nine routes throughout the Puget Sound, from the San Juan Islands in the North Sound to Pt. Defiance in Tacoma, Washington.
The Commission has released its proposal to increase ferry fares over the next two years that will generate $357 million between July 1, 2015 and June 20, 2017 as required in the recently passed state transportation budget.
The Commission is proposing a two-year increase in ferry fares. A summary of the proposal is as follows:
- On October 1, 2015, a 2.5% fare increase for vehicles and a 1% fare increase for passengers.
- On May 1, 2016, a 2.5% fare increase for vehicles and a 1% fare increase for passengers.
- On October 1, 2015 the current overheight surcharge for vehicles below 22 feet in length is eliminated.
- On May 1, 2016, the overheight threshold for vehicles 22 – 30 feet long will be reduced from the current 7 feet 6 inches, to 7 feet 2 inches.
- On October 1, 2015, the overheight waiver currently in place for qualifying disability vehicles 22 – 30 feet long, will be expanded to include any feature on the vehicle that may add height, rather than limiting it to a lift or other mechanism.
2013 Ferry Fare Outcome
The Transportation Commission adopted changes to current ferry fares and policies on July 30, 2013. This is the first step towards meeting an overall revenue target of $328 million that must be raised by ferry fares between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015.
Below is a summary of the adopted changes. All changes will take effect on Oct. 1, 2013 unless otherwise noted:
All proposed changes will take effect on Oct. 1, 2013, unless otherwise noted.
- Implements across-the-board, general fare increases:
- 2 percent increase on passenger fares and 3 percent increase on vehicle fares
- 2 percent increase on passenger fares and 2.5 percent increase on vehicle fares on May 1, 2014
- Increases fares for the Anacortes-Sidney, BC:
- 4.1 percent increase on Anacortes-Sidney vehicle and passenger fares
- 2.5 percent increase on Anacortes-Sidney vehicle and passenger fares on May 1, 2014
- Adds a round trip fare option for travelers to and from Friday Harbor and Sidney, BC.
- Completes implementation of a three-phase plan that was started in 2011, providing reduced fares for smaller vehicles. In this final phase, the vehicle fare for cars less than 14 feet will be charged 70 percent of the vehicle fare charged for standard vehicles (14 feet to less than 22 feet).
- Eliminates the motorcycle oversize surcharge. Vehicles that currently pay the motorcycle oversize surcharge will pay either the under-14-feet-vehicle fare or the motorcycle fare depending on their size.
- Increases the youth discount from the current 20 percent off the full fare, to 50 percent off the full fare.
Fare Summary Tables
For further information on the Commission's 2013 rates setting, view the 2013 Ferry Fare proposal.
Current Ferry Fares
Fares are based on the route's geographical location, the length, width, and height of your vehicle, as well as the length of time you will be traveling on board our ferry. Fares are also calculated based on the age or disability of each passenger and are collected either for round trip travel or one-way travel, depending on the departure terminal. Note that seniors, persons with disabilities and passengers with a Medicare card, or other eligibility verification, are eligible for travel at half the regular passenger fare rate. General Fare Information is available on the WSF website.
- Current Fare Information
- Passenger Ferry Fares
- Vehicles Under 20’, Motorcycle and Stowage Ferry Fares
- Oversize Vehicle Ferry Fares
- Charter rates for vessels
Ferry Fare Setting
The Commission and Washington State Ferries established a Ferry Advisory Committee - Tariff (FACT) body to provide ferry riders direct input into the fare setting process. Members of this body come from each local Ferry Advisory Committee representing the communities ferries serve.
General Information About Washington State Ferries
To get detailed information on ferry schedules, route maps, ticket information, reservations, wait times and other operational information, please visit Washington State Ferries.
Ferry Related Studies
2010 Ferry Riders Opinion Group (FROG)
The Commission is required under current law to conduct surveys of ferry customers every two years. The Commission is currently conducting its 2010 survey of ferry riders. Get more information on the survey results and how to join our Ferry Riders Opinion Group (FROG).
2010 Ferry Fuel Surcharge Report and Presentation
2009 Business Analysis of Naming Rights
2008 Ferry Customer Survey
The Commission conducted a year-long survey effort that was concluded in 2008. The surveys were provided to all ferry customers including freight customers, recreational riders, commuters and regular riders. See the results of the Ferry Customer Survey.
2008 Long-Term Ferry Finance Study
The Legislature directed the Commission to conduct a study aimed at identifying and evaluating long-term funding alternatives for the Washington state ferry system. 2008 Long-Term Ferry Finance Study