SSA: 5:30 am freight ferries should stay

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The SSA says it uses the Governor so that trucks don't have to back on to the early-morning freight ferry.

The Steamship Authority will recommend that 5:30 am ferries be kept as part of the 2020 schedule at meetings before the port council and board, according to a draft of the report posted on the SSA website at bit.ly/SSAearlyferries

In the detailed 154-page report, which includes the public and written testimony, the SSA highlights a letter from Brian Packish, chairman of the Oak Bluffs board of selectmen. “Later boats mean later deliveries during times when our narrow roads are packed with traffic. The geometry simply does not exist to accommodate food deliveries, local traffic, and visitor traffic at the same time. It creates complete chaos and shuts our business districts down,” Packish wrote.

The SSA held a public hearing after 50 Woods Hole residents signed a petition objecting to the early-morning traffic and, subsequently, the noise that the 5:30 am ferries create. 

In a detailed report, SSA general manager Robert Davis recommends keeping the 5:30 am service to meet the needs of the Island for goods and services, but suggests a working group look at some of the concerns raised by Woods Hole residents, including trucks arriving well before 5 am and using Jake brakes, a compression system that causes a noise like a gunshot. The report also points out some of the things the SSA has already done, like using the MV Governor so that trucks don’t have to back onto the freight ferry using backup alarms.

The port council was expected to hear the report Wednesday in Hyannis, and the SSA board will hear it and vote on it at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 5:30 pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center in Vineyard Haven.