The Inter-Island Ferry Authority’s Stikine sails through Ketchikan’s Tongass Narrows. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)

Ferry trips to and from Prince of Wales Island will be a little bit more expensive starting later this month. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority says it’s hiking its rates for people who buy their tickets in person, over the phone or by email.

IFA General Manager Ron Curtis says a 6% surcharge on online ferry reservations means it’s currently cheaper to call or email the office or purchase a ticket in person.

“So all we’ve done is raise our rates 6% — to match the online rate — for all the other methods of making reservations. The majority of the reason for doing this is not revenue, but to drive more reservations to the web,” Curtis said in a phone interview.

He says that should make it easier to predict how many passengers and cars will ride the ferry on any given day. And he says it should also save IFA agents quite a bit of time.

“Oh, my gosh, it is so difficult to get employees right now. So in order to accommodate all of the walk-in, phone-in, email (and) all the other kinds of orders, it requires manpower that I’m really struggling to get right now,” Curtis said.

Curtis says it’s the first rate increase since 2014. Once it takes effect, a one-way ticket for one person with a 15-foot vehicle will cost $9 more than before —  $151.50 under the new rate structure.

The IFA says it’s also eliminating a 10% senior discount on vehicle fares. Curtis says that usually works out to about $10 to $11 off their total ticket price.

“We were looking at things that are really time-hogs on the agents, and that there is no easy way in our system to apply this the senior driver discount,” Curtis said.

To make up for that, the ferry authority says it’s cutting the already-discounted base fare for elders — including walk-ons — by $4, to $28.50 one-way.

The 6% rate hike takes effect July 15.