SSA changes course on proposed excursion hike

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The Steamship Authority won't be increasing its excursion rates next summer.

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.”

12 COMMENTS

  1. I have heard no talk about the SSA making up this gap by reducing costs. Let’s raise parking rates and drive more people to bring their cars over… let’s build and elaborate building in the Palmer Lot at what cost? Let’s not take care of the boats and defer maintenance until they break down multiple times in a year and then it costs multiples more to fix in a crisis….. Let’s not fire a bus driver that is asleep in his car with his bus sitting next to his car while on the clock… instead be told by the on duty manager that “it has been a busy summer”….. So why are we bearing these costs increases? It is time the SSA cleaned up it’s house before trying to recoup costs on our backs! Where is the accountability???

  2. I agree hikerman52, where is their accountability? Every time I read about the SSA they always have their hand out demanding more money, why can’t they have a budget they can stick to? The Woods Hole projects that are going on, drive me crazy every time I see them, that fancy building that cost a couple of million that will eventually be torn down and now they’re saying they need bigger (see more money) pilings for the new slip? Don’t they know how angry we are STILL from this past spring when the million dollar upgraded, overhauled boats kept breaking down? I know rates do have to adjust from time to time but come on, get your act together SSA!

  3. Here’s the problem with your assessments. The Woods Hole project and the boats are already in the pipeline. Where in this 21st century are you able (if you’re the SSA) to reduce costs? The multiple unions they have? Cut their pay? Then you would be complaining that your cousin, your brother or sister are being unfairly treated? Maybe you’d cut cost by shutting a port earlier in the season or opening it up later in the season to realize that keeping it open costs nothing in the $110 million budget but would hurt your mom and dads store in that town. So you want to make up this gap? What gap? The oil increase gap that is being projected? Why do you think there has been no rate increase in years, maybe because they used that money in the fuel budget that was saved due to lower costs to make up the gap of ever increasing labor and operational costs?
    The raise in parking in Falmouth does nothing in the mind of a tourist that makes them weigh their “bring or leave” car decision. $5 a calendar day increase helps pay the labor and maintenance of the lot, the trash pick up, the electricity or the rental increase that town of Falmouth charges them for one of the lots. Our precious excursion rates are being kept even, it’s the tourist who is bearing the cost. Don’t tell me islanders pay the cost of the freight because it’s not true. Get the studies the SSA have posted to disprove this line of reasoning.

    Accountability Islanddogs2? The SSA tells us, we don’t listen. We are being told we need a new vessel every 5 years, do the math. Replacement of the fleet, where a vessel lasts 50 years, 10 of them, means every 5 years. It’s coming. Accountability , we hold them accountable when we want discounts for islanders, reduced student rates, veteran rates, disability rates, special children under 4 rates, 5 to 12 year old rates etc…Fancy building maybe but it’s not the old asbestos building sitting there anymore and have you seen building costs lately? It’s expensive .

    So now let’s pick on the front line staff cause there’s nothing left. A conversation or two recently over heard at the ticket counter.
    “I want a ticket on the 4pm freight boat”.
    Tickets are good for any boat for any time up for a year.
    “Ya but I only want one for the 4 o’clock freight boat”.

    “this boat needs to go to Oak Bluffs”
    Boats are not going into Oak Bluffs today because of the weather
    “I need this boat to Oak Bluffs because that’s where I am staying”.

    They deal with all types all year long, it’s no longer just a long summer. Give em a break.

  4. What is it worth to ride a ferry that doesn’t sink? Somehow this doesn’t seem the time to want a bargain.

  5. It shouldn’t take more than five years to build the bridge.Let’s stop building boats for the Vineyard run and let Nantucket deal with with the SteamshipAuthority. Better them than us.Another Win Win for the Vineyard

      • And talk about car traffic after the bridge is built. MV Al , I am sure you’re a bright person, how about being part of the solution and not part of the problem. Building a bridge will never happen but understanding the SSA would go a long way to understanding what we want as an island is attainable and the SSA is our partners.

    • Bridges of the type required, over unstable Vineyard Sound strata, not bedrock, btw, cost a billion bucks and more…..PER MILE. Do the math, get the permits, find the money, and come back in however long that takes, OK? The SSA is actually dirt cheap compared to the cost of a bridge.

  6. No bridge, that would be the final straw, I would move because that would definitely take away from the island as we now know it.
    BB you seem pretty familiar with all the SSA goings on, perhaps you are on board? Or friends with the board?
    I don’t care either way, I had my say and so did you.

  7. BB
    The Steamship is the problem. At there present rate of increases a round trip will cost $300.00 for everyone. It’s time to stop beating a dead horse. The other option is to end all discounts for year round residents and have everyone pay the same prices .Everyone talks about increased traffic,But with $300.00 a round trip cost for the bridge traffic should not increase. Let Nantucket deal with the steamship Authority that ship has sailed

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