SSA sets budget guides for 2011, and the winter/spring schedules

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Steamship Authority (SSA) members, anticipating a draft calendar 2011 budget in September and a final version in October, agreed on a set of budget policy guides, including a willingness to make “schedule modifications and trip consolidations … when practical”

The members meeting Tuesday in Hyannis, approved 2011 winter and spring operating schedules that are similar to this year’s, except for starting and ending dates. The winter schedule will start on January 3 and end April 14. The spring schedule will start April 15 and end May 23. The result is that the summer schedule next year will start four days later than it did this year.

Wayne Lamson, the boatline general manager, reported that budgeting for fuel will continue to be difficult.

“However,” he wrote in a memo distributed after the Tuesday meeting, “as a result of the hedge program for vessel fuel we instituted more than a year ago, our fuel oil requirements for all of 2011 are already effectively capped at an average cost of $3.15 per gallon.

“The budgeted cost of vessel fuel oil for 2011, however, will be based on the projected forecasts plus the premium cost of the hedging program. In addition, we will continue to make fuel and energy conservation a priority in both land and sea operations.”

Carl Walker, in charge of capital projects, reported that Governor, out of service for several weeks while her drive motors were repaired, is expected back in service by August 1.

The members approved a 50 percent discount for a three-month, 10 or more round trip fare for Nantucketers traveling to and from that island aboard Lyanough, the fast ferry, for medical treatment on the mainland. Documentation of medical need will be required.

And, the members established a special motorcycle rate for bikers who want to visit both the Vineyard and Nantucket and do so, that is travel all four legs of the journey, within 31 days.