Burning questions

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The string of mishaps the Steamship Authority has had over the first half of 2018 is unprecedented. Every time we think it’s reached its peak, something else happens.

The SSA needs to take full responsibility for the bus fire that destroyed one of its shuttle buses and, in the process, damaged another dozen vehicles parked nearby. Let’s start off by saying, like everyone else, we’re thankful that no one was injured in this calamity. On a busy Saturday in July, that was fortunate, to say the least.

The SSA has taken some positive steps. They’ve rented vehicles for customers whose cars are undrivable as a result of the fire, and they’ve reached out to the owners to offer assistance in the insurance process.

But there is more the Steamship Authority could do and should do. Some of the vehicle owners were under the impression that the SSA was attempting to avoid liability in the incident, an impression that was inflamed by the SSA’s insurance carrier providing inaccurate information about what it says on the back of a ferry ticket.

Vehicle owners were understandably upset, and some took to social media to complain. The SSA suffered another black eye.

We understand the insurance process is slow, and every insurance company is looking to pass the buck to another. Auto insurance is the worst. Anyone who has ever driven a new car off a lot knows that it immediately loses value. So the owners of vehicles, especially older ones, are understandably concerned with what it is they’ll be able to get for transportation once the dust settles and insurance claims are paid. If you own a 2005 Nissan Sentra that is paid off, for example, and insurance says it is valued at $2,500, what kind of a car are you going to get to replace that vehicle without having to take on debt and make payments?

So, there’s still time, SSA, to publicly let the dozen or so car owners affected by that July 7 fire know that everything will work out.

These customers need to hear you say you’ll do the right thing and take care of them once the claims are settled. Let them know that, within reason, you’ll assist them in getting a comparable vehicle. It’s the right thing to do.