Riding state ferries will cost a little more this summer.
The Alaska Marine Highway System plans its next round of fare increases to start May 1st. That’s when the new summer schedule begins.
Spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says it’s the second year of a five-year effort to equalize ticket prices.
“What we’re trying to do is bring similar distance fares into a similar price across the entire system. So you’re getting what you pay for no matter where you are in the system.”
Most fare hikes are small.
An adult passenger sailing from Juneau to Ketchikan will pay $4 more (from $122 to $126). A Kodiak-Homer ticket is up $2 (from $83 to $85). And a Bellingham, Washington-to-Skagway trip, one of the longer routes, will increase $13 (from $451 to $464).
A few routes will have lower ticket prices. For example, an adult passenger traveling from Cordova to Whittier will pay $3 less (from $84 to $81).
The new May-to-September schedule was released Wednesday. Sailings are actually up for the busier months, June through August. But Woodrow says they’re down for the full next budget year, which begins in July.
“Where we’ve been able to reduce the frequency of sailings has been more in the shoulder season. Late April, early May and then late September [is] where we’ve kind of reduced just a week here or there for each ship.”
He says the summer schedule was developed around the governor’s proposed budget. It calls for a 5 percent cut in unrestricted general fund spending.
The Legislature could further reduce the marine highway budget. Woodrow says any such cuts would come out of next fall, winter and spring’s schedules.