Task Force Open House May 2: Questions

The Citizens’ Task Force For the Lummi Island Ferry
Invites you to our Open House
Monday, May 2, 6 pm, at the Grange

Review what the Task Force has learned.

Ask questions and provide your input:

  • What about drydock in April instead of September?
  • Should age 5, 12, or 18 be the cutoff for free rides?
  • What’s the difference between operational and capital costs, and why does it matter?
  • What do you think of crew fares?
  • What do you think of needs-based fares? 
  • Should the rented Gooseberry parking lot be eliminated to reduce expenses? 
  • What do you think of peak season fares? 
  • Should service hours be cut to reduce expenses? 
  • What about vehicles being charged by length instead of weight?
  • What about electronic ticketing and credit card payment?

The review will summarize major findings by the Task Force on ridership, accounting, fare options and other key issues. Those summaries, as well as the detailed research reports  linked to previously on the Ferry Forum and in the Ferry Documents database, will provide objective background data and definitions that help clarify the reasons and consequences of options. That information also may influence how you answer some of the above questions.

Please note:  The status of Gooseberry Pt negotiations will not be discussed.  The Task Force has no more information than any of the rest of us, plus negotiations are not within the scope of the work they were charged to accomplish by the County Council.

3 thoughts on “Task Force Open House May 2: Questions

  1. Hi Kathy,
    Thanks for the opportunity to respond by email!

    Here are my responses.

    I prefer drydock in April. I thought it was changed to fall as a cost saving measure. If spring is more expensive, I’d have to see the costs to decide.

    I would like to see 18 as the cut off age for kids. Families with teens are currently unable to attend functions in town or visit family on island. I believe that teens attending summer school offered programs and drivers ed shouldn’t have to pay.

    Do we have any control of the decision to count capital expenses as part of the operating budget for the ferry? I don’t think it’s a normal way of accounting for county government, is it? I can’t think that the council would approve a ferry budget that decreased the revenue from fares, but I think that it is totally reasonable to request that the capital expenses be removed form the operational budget. These capital improvements, or assets, that belong to the county like the ferry and the docks, should be held as county property, not part of the costs to operate the ferry.

    The crew fares, if they are that important in the benefit package for employees, should have a punch card system that will track use, or a reimbursement protocol.

    I think it’s really important to continue the needs based fares for people that are commuting for work and school, and for retired or disabled people that can’t afford the ferry fares. However, people that have assets, but little taxable income shouldn’t be eligible. Perhaps it could be linked to the food stamps qualification. Some people say that folks might be reluctant to apply for food stamps, but then why would they be willing to apply for reduced fares?

    We obviously need parking on the Gooseberry side. Perhaps the county could purchase a few lots or something, if the rental is prohibitive. Shuttle service to a parking area near the casino is also an option. If the Lummi Transit schedule could incorporate ferry times, it could be a benefit for the tribe to cut the traffic flow in the area.

    Peak season fares would be likely to have a negative effect on our local businesses. We have few community amenities, and need each one of them to maintain a viable community. I believe that a ferry taxing district would better address this funding, as the taxes would help shift the burden from commuters to all our population that relies on the ferry, even for a few summer visits.

    I’m certainly not happy with reducing service hours, as I know people who work early and late shifts. There must also be a union negotiating element to consider in reducing staff. Maybe it would require cutting part time and seasonal employees, etc. However, if the choice comes to raising fares again, or reducing hours, I’d be interested in seeing some proposals.

    Would changing the fares from weight to length result in increased revenue? (Sorry if this has been addressed in discussion that I’m not aware of) I don’t know how or whom it would affect.

    If electronic payment saves money, it should be considered. It might be important to know if passengers would need extra time to load and if there would be a lot of frustration with getting payments made. Also, the costs of maintaining an automated system could be hard to assess.

  2. And wll the new and inproved, Ferry Taxing District Funds be robbed by your local politician, as done in King County, and reported in the Seattle PI?

    “…Sales tax revenue, which subsidizes Metro’s operations, has declined during the bad economy, forcing Metro to cut some service, dip into reserves and divert money from fleet replacement and local ferry taxes to keep its bus system running at current levels.”

    Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/transportation/article/Metro-bus-cuts-Seattle-or-Eastside-who-would-1372425.php#ixzz1LvLm4swZ

  3. I still say ticket books are the answer. Everyone that comes across pays with a ticket or cash. The Sherriff’s can stamp their tickets with a Star, Public Works with a big PW, Health Dept with an H, etc. Tickets/cash receipts must equal the pursers log. Anything less is pure folly when trying to account for over $1.5 million a year.

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