Ferry fares rise for third time in a year

first_imgThe ferry Taku sails into the Wrangell Narrows on its way south in 2013. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)Download AudioBeginning in May, it will cost 14 percent more to take the ferry to and from the Lower 48.The fare boost is part of another round of Alaska Marine Highway System tariff increases. Officials said they’ll increase income and help equalize rates across all routes.Transportation Department spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said Bellingham, Washington, sailings are in high demand.“Those routes always sell out during the summertime. And by putting on that premium, that will generate additional revenue, which will allow the marine highway system to provide ferry service in other parts of the system,” he said.A passenger traveling one way from Juneau to Bellingham without a vehicle or stateroom now pays about $410, a $50 increase.That’s about 14 percent more. Woodrow said it’s part of the effort to equalize all ticket prices.“A 50-mile trip in Southeast Alaska will cost the same as a 50-mile trip in Southwest Alaska. Right now, that’s not necessarily the case. We have a lot of imbalances across the entire system,” Woodrow said.The rate hike is the third in the past year. Two previous increases raised fares a total of about 10 percent, across the board.Woodrow said the fare equalization effort will take about five years. But you can’t find the latest rates without making – or trying to make – a reservation online or on the phone.“We have thousands of different route combinations. Before it was easier to say which ones were not being increased, compared to now. Now, almost every single route is being affected, because … we’re applying a formula to those routes,” he said.That formula comes from a 2015 tariff analysis.last_img

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