The Steamship Authority opted to drop hikes in excursion rates proposed for 2019 at a Port Council Meeting in Hyannis Wednesday. At the SSA board’s Sept. 25 meeting on Nantucket, treasurer/comptroller Gerard Murphy’s presentation included a $6 rise in the cost of round-trip excursion fares on the Vineyard route. Many Islanders expressed anger on social media about the rate increase, especially after the ferry line suffered a series of mechanical breakdowns earlier in the year.
Murphy instead presented the Port Council with a boost to regular on-season auto rates on the Vineyard route. Currently $68.50 one way, Murphy suggested $80 at the Nantucket meeting. In Hyannis Tuesday, that figure was increased to $81. The on-season rates apply from April 1 to Oct. 31. Off-season rates will remain unchanged.
Steamship Authority spokesman Sean Driscoll said the $1 increase is sufficient to plug the gap eliminating the need for an increase in excursion rates.
The Port Council voted unanimously to approve Murphy’s proposal.
The Steamship Authority board will consider the new fee structure at its meeting Oct. 16 at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.
“We haven’t adjusted these rates in a long time,” Driscoll said. “We’re sensitive to it every time we do it.”