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Archive for November, 2010

PLIC Plain Talk: Real Politics – What’s Next?”

Sunday, November 14, 2010 @ 12:11 PM
posted by mike

Our Plain Talk newsletter outlines a couple of short-term recommended alternatives to Whatcom County Council’s ordinance introduced to raise rates drastically for Lummi Island ferry service. A public hearing is scheduled on this ordinance (Option 6 – $2 surcharge, and just 10% discount on multi-ride cards) Tuesday, November 23 at 7 p. m.

[Plan to attend. Sign up here to either obtain or offer a ride.]

At the PLIC Community Meeting on 11/11, a full house at the Grange agreed that the process is moving too rapidly. To slow it for a more thorough study and more effective long-term solution to County’s drain on the ferry funds and overall budget, our neighborhood alliance recommends (a.) a temporary $2 surcharge that can be easily implemented with no administrative burden, and (b.) formation in cooperation with County Council an immediate and interim blue-ribbon Ferry Task Force.

This offers a means to apply a tourniquet to an increasing deficit, to allow for a mediated lease agreement, and to ease the Council’s overload on time and resources to undertake a complete, thorough review of all Lummi Island ferry costs, revenues,  accounting, and administrative procedures in search of permanent, long-term fixes to a broken system that is draining money.

Read PLIC’s PLAIN TALK on Ferry Fares, Task Force


Calculations of new proposed ferry rates

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 @ 10:11 PM
posted by mike

The Whatcom County Council’s Committee of the Whole passed a motion today (11/2) that will move to the next stage for raising ferry fares.

The proposal — Option 6 (scroll down to p. 28) submitted by Public Works — contains drastic hikes in multi-ride fares, allowing for just 10% discount and adding a $2 surcharge to current rates. (Special needs fares are calculated differently.)

Basic fares remain intact — $10 vehicle/driver, $4 pedestrian — but this ordinance would add a $2 surcharge across the board on every round trip. So, a single trip by car goes to $12 and walk-on to $6. Multi-ride cards go up to 90% of basic fare ($225 drive-on, $90 walk-on) plus $50 surcharge added to each card ($2×25 rides).

The ordinance will be submitted for introduction at the Nov. 9 regular biweekly meeting of County Council. If passed,  a public hearing would take place at their next meeting, Nov. 23. A vote for or against could follow the hearing, or Council could postpone action for further discussion and/or revision and additional public input.

Fare increases range from 172% for driver/vehicle multi-ride to 250% for walk-on multi-ride, and in needs-based fares the jump ranges from 195% for drive-on to $325% for students (summer, post HS) and 440% for other walk-ons.

A sampling of the fare increases:

Vehicle/Driver $12 round-trip, $11 r/t on 25-trip ticket.

Pedestrian $6 r/t, 45.60 r/t on 25-trip ticket.

Needs-based fares would reflect $70 for vehicle/driver for 10/rt (up from $36); $75 pedestrian for 25 r/t (up from $17); and $75 school children post-HS/summer for 25 r/t (up from $23). These fares are calculated thus: all needs-based walk-ons use a 25-trip card with a base of $25 plus $2×25 surcharge totaling $75; needs-based drive-ons use a 20-trip card with a base of $50 plus $2×10 surcharge totaling $70.

Bicycles w/rider would go up from $4 to $6, and motorcycles w/rider from $5 to $7 single trip and $80 to $173 for a 25-ride card.

The formula for the multi-ride cards: Fare x No. of trips, less 10% discount, plus $2 surcharge for every r/t. e.g., vehicle/driver $10 x 25 = $250 – $25 = $225 + $50 (i.e., 2x$25) = $275.

Much discussion Tuesday centered on needs-based fares (motions to eliminate them completely passed at first, then failed later although increasing them substantially.

Other discussion topics that gained no traction included moving on Option 1 (same rates, $2 across the board surcharge); making the ordinance a temporary change until a lease agreement is obtained and a full review of operations and costs took place; opting for peak- and off-peak fare options; adding parking charges, and procedural changes such as collecting fares on both sides of the trip.


November 9 and 23, City Council, 7 p.m.
November 11, PLIC Community Meeting, 6:30 p.m., The Grange


PLIC Position Letter to County

Monday, November 1, 2010 @ 06:11 PM
posted by mike

11-1-2010 Board outlines asks re: ferry rates, service

Monday, the county executive, Pete Kremen and the County Council received a letter from the PLIC Board of Directors:


Highlights of the letter:

–Request for vote 11/2 for a surcharge to ferry fares as a six-month temporary stop-gap until a mediated lease settlement and all related ferry costs are finalized.

–Recommedation of a thorough review of costs and revenues and a long-term financial plan for ferry operations.

–Sustaining levels of service.

–50 years minimum lease.

–Examine means to increase ridership, reduce fare differentials, enact seasonal and peak fares, parking fees, eliminate administrative costs, and seek outside revenue sources.

–Check on compliance with all laws and accounting procedures as cited in four examples.

–Creating a fare increase that includes current lease payments is “premature and counterproductive,” and could undermine mediation stance in relating the lease to terms of fair market assessments.