Steamship Authority negotiates for new Island reservation office

The Steamship Authority members held their regular monthly meeting on August 16, at the boatline’s Hyannis terminal. SSA General Manager Wayne Lamson reported that the SSA has received three proposals in response to a request for proposals it issued for office or counter space that could be used to relocate the airport reservation office.

At the boatline meeting held July 19 on Martha’s Vineyard, SSA members assured the audience that it is not planning to close the Island reservation office, now located at the airport, just cut expenses.

The new owners of the building that houses the SSA airport reservation office have said that the boatline’s lease will not be extended past January 31, 2012. According to the SSA, the reservations office handled 17,910 counter transactions in 2010 and cost the boatline about $300,000 annually.

Robert Marshall of Falmouth, SSA chairman, took note of the cost at the July meeting in the Katharine Cornell Memorial Theatre. “That’s about $18 per individual visit,” he said.

Mr. Marshall said he was not advocating closing the facility or eliminating jobs, only reducing the cost per visit to something that “makes sense.”

George Balco, Tisbury port council representative, said SSA customers “get individual TLC, and that’s very important.”

According to the SSA’s management summary of the August meeting, one proposal is for property in Edgartown, and the other two are for properties within the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Business Park.

Mr. Lamson said the boatline is continuing discussions with the Martha’s Vineyard Airport manager to see whether the SSA might be able to use counter space and a room at the airport.

“Mr. Lamson stated that, at the moment, he feels confident that SSA management will be able to recommend to the board at their September 20th meeting that the SSA continue to have a reservation office or counter space for in-person reservation transactions on Martha’s Vineyard after the lease at its current location expires in January 2012,” according to the management report.