Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why does the Washington State Ferry System have a summer surcharge?



Every year I get the notice below:


ALL ROUTES:
On Thursday, May 1st, peak season officially begins with an additional surcharge applied to vehicle/driver fares for non-frequent users. The following link has more detailed information. Please select route and date on or after May 1, 2008

This alert was sent on 4/29/2008 at 1:12PM.
Our Web Site is at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries
You can change your account, anytime, at: https://secure1.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/account
Please send any comments or suggestions you may have to WSFAlert@wsdot.wa.gov

Every year it drives me crazy and I respond with my suggestions.

Why can't we just have the summer rate be the "regular" rate and then have a "winter" or "Off-Season" rate that is lower? Wouldn't you rather have a discount during the winter than being told you're paying a surcharge in the summer? I'm sure tourists would.


Same money, just sounds a lot better. And when rates do go up, why does it have to be at the same time as the summer surcharge? (I know, no increase this year, but . . .).

Wouldn't it go over better if, when rate increases are added, that they be added when the rates drop?

Perhaps they would then be accused of trying to fool us, but I still like the idea of an "off season" discount in the slower winter months. Or, why change rates at all, set a rate that is appropriate and charge the same rate all year 'round. Only make changes when the fares go up. Seems that could save some money along the way.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

UPDATE: I got a response this year! Here it is, but read below so you'll understand. Nice compliment.

"I did forward your email and I printed it out to bring up at our meetingon Thursday. I don't know that I'll get any further, but I'll try. I sure can see why you do what you do, and I'm sure your very good at it."

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of calling it an "off-peak" discount. But flat rates don't make fiscal sense. Ferries are one of those "fixed supply" commodities we learned about in Economics 101 - no matter what the price is, there are only so many vehicle spaces on the boat. In summer, the demand curve shifts upward - more people are willing to purchase tickets, even at higher prices. To maximize revenue, WSF needs to shift their rates upward, too.