2012 may be the year that the Steamship Authority’s years of declining traffic volumes makes a turnaround. As of the end of February — and maybe the moderate winter weather helped — passenger, automobile, and freight traffic were all sharply higher for the line as a whole.
Vineyard passengers jumped 8.2 percent compared with last year’s volume, and overall, the boatline’s passenger traffic rose 7.3 percent, despite Nantucket’s slight one tenth of one percent contribution.
Auto traffic rose 7.8 percent for the Vineyard, but despite a 3.6 percent decrease in Nantucket traffic, the line as a whole saw auto travel rise 6.4 percent.
Freight (trucks) rose very slightly to and from the Vineyard, just eight tenths of a percent, but to and from Nantucket the freight traffic increase was 5.9 percent. So, overall the year over year increase for the line was 2.1 percent.
Measured in dollars, the boatline’s year over year performance was better still. Passenger revenue for the first two months of this year, up 6.5 percent for passengers, 8.5 percent for autos, and 2.3 percent for trucks. That’s an average across the three revenue categories of about 5.6 percent, or about half a percent better than the average for the traffic volume increase over the same period.