Visitors travelling to Sidney and the rest of Greater Victoria by ferry from the United States will see fares rise not once, but twice, starting next month, then again next year.
The fares for vehicles and passengers travelling on the Anacortes-Sidney run will go up 2.5 per cent and two per cent respectively, starting Oct. 1. after the Washington State Transport Commission had approved the increases in early August.
Fares for oversized vehicles on the Anacortes-Sidney route will pay an additional five per cent. The no-show fee for reservations will go up to 100 percent of the one-way fare paid, based on a standard sized vehicle.
These increases will remain in effect until May 1, 2020 when new fares will come into effect. Fares for vehicles will go up 2.5 per cent, fares for passengers two per cent, and fares for oversized vehicles on the Anacortes-Sidney route will go up another five per cent. A summer surcharge raising funds for the construction of new vessels will go up 25 per cent.
While fares vary depending on the category of traveller and vehicles used, a full adult fare would be $20.65 (US) on Oct. 1, then $21.30 (US) on May 1, 2020. A standard vehicle fare would be $57.95 (US) on Oct. 1, and $59.65 (US) on May 1, 2020. The lowest rate for an oversized vehicle would be $91.95 (US) on Oct. 1 and $99 (US) on May 1, 2020.
A full break-down is available of various fees is available here.
The increases come among on-going changes to the Washington State Ferry system as it moves towards what officials call a greener, all-electric fleet as part of a larger effort to de-carbonize its economy.
Just over 130,000 people travelled on the Sidney route in 2018, a drop of 0.5 per cent, according to official statistics. That includes 108,471 on the main Anacortes-Sidney run, and another 21,532 on the Friday-Harbour Sidney run.
Looking at the big picture, the Sidney accounts for a fraction of the overall system — 0.5 per cent. In 2018, Washington State Ferries carried 24.687 million people.