Test your ideas about fares & expenses

Would you like to find out how altering future ferry expenses and/or fares would influence the ferry budget?

Chandler Johnson of the Ferry Task Force created a “what if” simulation spreadsheet that lets you put in changes in expenses and fares that you’d like to try out. The spreadsheet calculates how those changes influence the ‘bottom line’ balance between the income from fares, total expenses, and that 55% of expenses that users are required to pay for annually.

This exercise is reasonably straightforward for those who understand MS Excel (or the free version, OpenOfficeCalc) and know at least a bit about ferry expenses and fares.  If you don’t know how to use spreadsheets like this, you probably know someone who is knowledgeable about such things, who you can work with to check out your guesses.

The value in this exercise is that it lets each of us get a better, more realistic sense of the quantitative effect of changing things you’ve always wondered about (e.g., eliminating needs based fares; charging more for trucks).  The spreadsheets of course over-simplify the world, but they can give us all at least some much-needed ‘reality check’ about the consequences of various ideas that we think might be useful in helping to meet the financial obligations of running the Whatcom County Ferry System in a fiscally responsible manner.

PS I’ve almost finished checking a slightly modified version of the spreadsheet that I created to have one additional feature. My version lets you set punch card fares as the % discount from full fare, rather in dollars. Hopefully I’ll finish checking and post it in a day or two.   Wynne

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