Should cyclists who tow trailers pay more to ride the ferry?

KING 5's Ted Land reports.

Some cyclists are upset about a proposed fare increase on Washington State Ferries, aimed at riders who tow extra stuff onboard.

Among other routine fare hikes, the Washington State Transportation Commission is considering a hefty increase specifically for cyclists who haul trailers.

They would have to pay the motorcycle driver rate instead of a passenger with bike rate. A summer round trip between Seattle and Bainbridge Island would go from $9.20 to $16, a 73% increase.

“The last thing we need is a reason for people to think twice about taking their bike, and to drive instead,” said Vicky Clarke, policy manager for the Cascade Bicycle Club.

She says bike tourism is increasing, especially in the San Juan Islands, and many cyclists bring along camping gear.

The transportation commission handling the proposal says this is mostly a space issue. Ships have limited room, especially this time of year, and they say the fare hike is partly in response to cyclists who are towing kayaks and long trailers on board.

Bike advocates say it's unfair because some people tow small child carriers or trailers that are just a few feet long.

Cascade Bicycle Club says more than one hundred of its members responded to the commission in just the past day, urging it to reconsider.

“I think that the state, in general, is trying to promote sustainable transportation, and increasing the costs like this goes against that goal,” Clarke said.

The commission says it wants to hear from riders to learn more about all of the different things they tow, from kids, to camping equipment.

The final hearing on the matter is next Wednesday.

© 2017 KING-TV


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