Ferry Fares: Values and Value$

Values:   What we believe is important to our community
Value$:  Monetary worth or cost

At last week’s (Apr. 18, 2011) Ferry Task Force meeting , Diane Harper and Chandler Johnson made an enlightening presentation about our current ferry fare structure.  (Here are the official minutes and Rhayma Blake’s more detailed observations of what happened.)

Chandler and Diane’s presentation stimulated a great deal of productive discussion among everyone at the meeting. They began by framing the issues well (how much, in dollars, is needed to cover ferry users’ share of costs?).

Then they described our current fare structure (all the categories of fares, such as pedestrian, small trucks, various punch cards etc) and then compared these to other county ferry fare structures.   This is useful because the task force could recommend changing the number and type of fare categories used now by the County, if that seems useful.

They offered an interpretation of how each of our fare categories relate to community values (e.g., we value having young families with children live on the island, so we don’t require fares to be paid for very young children.)

Chandler next walked through a spreadsheet that let us try out  “what if” scenarios where specific fares could be changed and we could see what happened to the total fares recovered.  (He may generate a new spreadsheet and/or specific scenarios later this week. It can be opened and used with MS Excel or OpenOffice Calc.)

The spreadsheet simulation lets us ask and get answers to questions like “What if we asked all pedestrians to pay only $1?  What if  only people were charged (no vehicle fares) — exactly the same amount?  What if we have the same fares in 2012 as we do now (e.g., with the surcharge)?

Running ‘what if’ simulations lets us see the fiscal consequences of changing various fares.  (At the May 2 task force meeting, fares options will be described and discussed by the community.)

Diane and Chandler also presented five critical principles (fare structure objectives) that need to be considered in any recommendations for changes to fares. You can find those principles near the end of their presentation (p. 16).

If fares and fare$ matter to you, all this information is well worth reading — and the Monday May 2 meeting will definitely be worth attending.

2 thoughts on “Ferry Fares: Values and Value$

  1. I think this is one of those meetings that you don’t want to miss. It’s not fair at all to expect a hand full of dedicated, talented islanders to read the minds of hundreds of us.
    I’m sure my values and ideas vary widely from yours as to fares, discounts and hours of operation.
    So be it, but the Task Force members need to hear that.

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