DRAFT GIFC Meeting Minutes 7/14/22

GIFC Meeting Minutes 7/14/2022 (Draft): Taken by Gabe Murphy

Call to order approximately 7:05 PM

Committee Members in attendance: John Hopkins, Andy Leech, Allen Bush, Gabe Murphy

Community Guests in attendance: Steve Orsini (in person), Edith Walden, Mike Murphy, Charmaine Johannes (on Zoom)

Public comment:

Steve Orsini: Current ticketing method is problematic. Walk-ons are ticketed last once cars are loaded. With large numbers of passengers, the ferry leaves late because they can’t process credit cards in a short amount of time. It has been a long-standing problem that the purser had to sell tickets. Other ferry systems allow the purchase of tickets first and the purser performs a check function. There was an attempt to address this in 2020. Steve got a bid proposal from American Eagle. They do electronic ticketing for many other transit systems and can do cash and cards. Skagit County said they were not taking bids for ticketing systems at that time the proposal was presented to them. Proposed cost of $62K plus 5% revenue sharing.

Mike Murphy: Agreed with Steve on the ticketing issue. Before they stopped taking cash, ticketing didn’t seem to be a problem and the purser could do the job. Also last Wednesday Mike was in line on the Guemes side, and the boat left Guemes with a full lane empty, truck parked askew and left several cars behind that could have fit. Mike asked a deckhand when he got onto the ferry and the deckhand laughed it off. Mike reiterated that this was because of poor management.

Regular Committee Business:

June meeting minutes were approved by the committee as posted.

Minutes from the June meeting with Skagit County were approved as posted.

Treasury report: $653 in account, up from $588. Still short ~$250 for election fund deficit.

The question was raised about publicly posting the meeting agenda ahead of time?

Allen: Having the agenda posted ahead of time helps the community prepare public comment.

Andy: For folks interested in committee business, this helps with participation. Having an agenda is useful.

John: Wanted to keep the agenda short and sweet but agreed to post ahead of the meeting.

Gabe: Agreed it was a good idea if it wasn’t too much extra effort.

The question was raised about what to do with the recordings of meetings?

Allen: We are running out of space on Zoom to save but could delete to make space.

More discussion was had, and several members voiced concerns about publicly posting recordings. Members present concluded that recording was useful for accuracy of minutes. There was a verbal agreement of the committee members that recordings will be deleted once minutes are confirmed.

A discussion began regarding the June meeting between the GIFC and Skagit County

Most agreed the meeting seemed to go well and Allen thought the presentation was normal.

Allen’s observation: While the meeting was happening, Rachel was at dock and not physically present at the meeting but attended over Zoom. There was work going on to replace hydraulic cylinders that ran long and disrupted service. On Friday, there was also a coast guard inspection that disrupted service as well, but it was not communicated to anyone until afterwards.

John: At the meeting he made comments to the commissioner and felt he may have jumped the gun, but all committee members saw no problem with that. On the coast guard inspection concern, John asked if he should contact Rachel to ask about better communication in these situations, and the committee members agreed this would be helpful.

A discussion began regarding parking and security at the Anacortes terminal:

John: Has anyone heard of problems recently? Should we wait to contact APD?

Allen: Maybe we ask them how to report incidents? APD has jurisdiction.

John: Start by talking to the police chief? Maybe set up a meeting? John and Allen to possibly set up a meeting.

Hopefully the result of the meeting would be a clear direction for reporting criminal activity as it happens. Committee to consider posting that information publicly if we get it. Maybe at the ferry or online somewhere. Allen to contact APD and report back. Upon the outcome of the meeting, the committee will further discuss and decide how to present information to the public.

A discussion began regarding the Ferry Fare Target Revenue Methodology:

Allen: We are held accountable for the 65%, but the county has little accountability to make up the difference. The ferry rider’s ability to increase revenue is not effective because increasing fares doesn’t always increase revenue. Ridership habits change with more cost.

At the June meeting, the commissioner discussed capping the road fund subsidy. The committee noted in this discussion that property taxes are not being capped.

Allen: We have found money to purchase the last two ferries, so increasing fares to fund new ferry replacement might not be necessary. At the June meeting, the commissioner wanted to consider looking forward with revenue target methodology rather than looking backward.

John: Current methodology works fine, and it would be better not to mess with the current formula. The rest of the committee members present generally agreed with this statement.

It was noted that GIFC doesn’t have control over the decision one way or another, but the committee should consider a counter argument if the county pushes forward with a change in methodology. More discussion to be had.

Regarding the public meeting with the county on July 28th, the committee has no actions.

Conclusion of planned agenda, general comments and discussion began:

Gabe brought up a ticketing issue that he had where he tried to purchase a punch card from the purser and the purser did not have time due to schedule constraint. When Gabe asked when he could purchase a ticket, the response was “catch us when there is time or when we are not busy.” Gabe noted that this was not an acceptable answer and that relying on chance to purchase a punch card was absurd.

Steve offered to send info for automated ticketing machines to committee members.

Short discussion on Guemes side parking lot improvements. No actions at this time.

Andy explained that he had the same experience as Mike's regarding the ferry leaving Guemes side not full and leaving cars in line. This impacted his ability to get to an appointment which he made by parking his car and walking onto the ferry. He attributed this to the possibility of a new deck crew or possibly a crew that was not trained. Andy couldn’t follow up, but his frustration is still there. Rachel has a new assistant so hopefully he can attend to this kind of issue.

Allen brought up another instance of open spaces on the ferry, noting that feedback on these issues only really get apologies not any action. There are three crew members on the boat, and the captain has good vantage so they could direct the crew in parking cars.

Several questions were asked: What is the procedure to file a complaint on ferry performance?

Does the county want to hear about those things? What is the role of Kent and what is the role of Rachel? New ferry project? These could be good discussions for future meetings.

John agreed to contact Rachel regarding issues with ticketing, open spaces on ferry, and how the public can give feedback.

Meeting was adjourned.

Closing Public Comment:

Charmaine: Recently the ferry didn’t run a 1:30 ferry which affected her schedule. They may have been training a new person. Training new people impacts the service. The schedule should be kept up and the customer service should be kept up regardless of training. There is no oversight to require the purser to sell tickets.

Mike: It all comes down to the manager. The manager dictates the whole situation. The ferry is a service to the people of the island. In the past it has been a lot different. Thanked the committee for doing the thankless job and reiterated that all the committee focus should be on serving the Guemes Island community and not on serving the county.

Steve: Thanked the committee for including him.

Edith: Noted that the sound quality over Zoom is poor. Gabe agreed to listen to the recording and report back.

Tags: gifc event minutes