Whatcom council extends waiver on single-ticket credit card fees aboard Lummi ferry

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 13, 2014 

After a public hearing on the credit-card fees charged to ferry customers who purchase tickets on board, the Whatcom County Council decided to leave the fees unchanged for now.

Council voted 6 to 1 on Tuesday, March 11, to charge a 2.35 percent fee for riders who buy a multi-ride pass, and waive the fee for single-ticket customers. This fee schedule has been in place since credit cards started to be accepted on board the Whatcom Chief, on Jan. 1.

Barbara Brenner voted against the fee system. She said it discriminated against Lummi Island residents, who are more likely to buy the multi-ride passes. Ferry staff says pursers don't have time during the five-minute ride to manually calculate the fees on single-ride tickets.

Staff will evaluate the system over the next six months and go back to the council to give members an opportunity to revise the fee system. Staff estimates waiving the single-ticket convenience fee will cost the county $3,500 over the next six months.

Reach Ralph Schwartz at 360-715-2289 or ralph.schwartz@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Politics blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

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