Ferries announces fare collection "improvements"

by Tim Flanagan on January 26, 2009

[Normally, pharmacy I just publish the press releases, infertility but this one begs for some editorializing. That’s why I put the word improvements inside quotation marks. I couldn’t help myself! After all, overweight two of the three improvements involve eliminating customer options. If I were a cynical person—the sort that views every policy change at the Washington State Ferries Division with distrust and suspicion, for instance—I might wonder just who these improvements were intended to benefit. Actually, the press release is pretty clear about that, if you read the entire thing. —Tim]

SEATTLE – Ferry riders next month can expect to see several fare collection improvements beginning Wednesday, Feb. 25, including: 

  • Eliminating checks and Canadian currency as forms of payment.
  • Separating the Senior/Disabled Passenger fare into two categories.
  • Eliminating discounted, single round-trip fares (senior, disabled and youth), from kiosks at WSF terminals and from the WSF Web site (discounted fares will still be available at tollbooths).

Eliminating checks and Canadian currency as forms of payment
Checks accounted for less than 4.5 percent of all forms of payment collected by WSF in 2008. Eliminating checks will save as much as $50,000 annually in processing fees. Customers who use checks are encouraged to use other forms of payment accepted by WSF including cash, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, debit cards, traveler’s checks and money orders.

WSF is also eliminating Canadian currency as a form of payment, which now is only accepted at the Anacortes terminal. This change simplifies fare collection and aligns operations at Anacortes with the other terminals in the ferry system.

Separating the Senior/Disabled Passenger fare into two categories
WSF is separating the current Senior/Disabled Passenger fare into two single categories (Senior or Disabled) and is offering new ReValue cards for senior passengers or disabled passengers. By signing up for the ReValue card online, customers can avoid extra trips to the ticket booth and extra online transactions when purchasing fares. ReValue cards automatically replenish, charging a credit card every 90 days or when all of the trips are used. The new senior or disabled ReValue cards are good for five round-trips in 90 days. WSF will continue to honor Senior/Disabled Convenience Cards purchased prior to Feb. 25 until Oct. 10, 2009.

Customers can also go to the tollbooth and purchase as many senior or disabled single round-trip tickets as needed. Senior or disabled single round-trip tickets are valid for 90 days from the date of purchase.

Eliminating discounted, single round-trip fares, from kiosks at WSF terminals and from the WSF Web site
WSF is eliminating discounted single round-trip fares that require proof of eligibility (senior, disabled and youth) from kiosks at our terminals and from the WSF Web site. Purchases of these tickets increased by 19 percent in 2006, the first year of Wave2Go sales from unstaffed kiosks and from the Web site. Beginning Feb. 25, these tickets will only be available for purchase at tollbooths.

Customers must provide valid proof of age or eligibility for all senior, disabled and youth tickets. For online ReValue purchases, customers must download and fill out a form to submit with a scanned copy of proof of age or eligibility. These changes will ensure that discounts are preserved for those who are eligible.

For more information on these changes and the new ReValue cards for senior or disabled passengers, call 1-888-808-7977 or visit the WSF Wave2Go store online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/wave2go/ beginning Feb. 25.

For more ferry system information and sailing schedules, please visit the WSF Web site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries. To sign up for free e-mail alerts about service disruptions and other route information, click on the link in the far left column of the Web site.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Momma P January 27, 2009 at 11:47 am

Since debit cards, charge cards, and traveler’s checks are all charged processing fees, why could not the State cite the probably honest reason for not permitting checks: too many bounced ones! That’s my guess.

And, it sounds like if we want to drive to Canada via Victoria and the Saanich Penninsula we will have to go to Port Angeles or Tsawwassen. How much will the state really save by discontinuing funding this route and service.

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