Plymouth & Brockton bus lines would like to provide service from the Steamship Authority terminal in Woods Hole to Logan Airport in Boston and T.F. Green Airport in Providence, but the company’s owner John Cogliano says he’s been stonewalled in his attempts to get general manager Robert Davis’s attention.
That despite Cogliano’s contention that he will offer round-trip service from Woods Hole to Logan that is $11 cheaper than Peter Pan bus line, which operates a service that picks up at the Woods Hole terminal.
“This is a deliberate scheme to delay,” Cogliano told The Times Monday — providing some emails that went unreturned from Davis. (These emails were sent prior to the June 2 ransomware attack.)
Cogliano first approached the SSA in March of 2020, but with a plan to go from Woods Hole to T.F. Green Airport. When he attempted to tweak the license agreement on the spot to offer Logan service, the issue was tabled when Falmouth’s representative Kathryn Wilson questioned the amount of congestion it would create and wanted to know how the Falmouth Economic Development & Industrial Corp. would handle the issue.
Cogliano contends more bus service will reduce the number of vehicles in Woods Hole since people will have another option besides driving to the airport.
After that initial meeting COVID-19 hit, travel plummeted, and P&B shut down.
Fast forward to April of 2021 and Cogliano emailed Davis about coming back before the board. There are several emails that went unanswered before Davis told him that the issue would have to go before the Port Council first and then go before the full board again.
When The Times asked to talk to Davis earlier this week — he’s been unavailable — Cogliano received an email from the SSA’s legal counsel Terence Kenneally and was informed the issue would be on the board’s upcoming agenda on Tuesday. Sean Driscoll, in a text message, confirmed that the board will be updated on P&B’s request, but said there may not be a vote since an updated license agreement has not been submitted by P&B.
“The Steamship Authority received a proposal from Plymouth & Brockton to run service from our Woods Hole terminal to T.F. Green in early 2020. At the March board meeting, Mr. Cogliano indicated he also wished to run service to Boston Logan Airport as well. The board declined to act at that time given the uncertainty over the service and out of a desire for a review of his request by the Falmouth EDIC. The COVID-19 pandemic subsequently became the focus of our operations, and Plymouth and Brockton temporarily halted service,” Driscoll wrote in an email responding to a question The Times hoped to address to Davis. “The Steamship Authority has not, to date, received an updated request from Plymouth and Brockton. Under the Marine Transportation Act, the Authority controls access to its terminals and must have specifics in hand, such as proposed arrival and departure times, prior to considering the request. We additionally have other logistical considerations to contend with, including the already established arrival times of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority and Peter Pan at the terminal, as well as our limited space due to the ongoing Woods Hole Terminal Reconstruction Project. When a sufficiently detailed request to establish service is received, we will review it in due course and determine the appropriate course of action.”
On Friday, Cogliano updated The Times with his proposed schedule, which has seven roundtrips to Logan and two roundtrips to T.F. Green.
Cogliano said he has permission from Falmouth EDIC to use the Falmouth train station (also used by Peter Pan) as a stop. He said it’s being held in escrow awaiting the SSA’s decision.
Cogliano, who once served the state as Secretary of Transportation, said it would be unlawful for the SSA to allow one bus service and not another — essentially setting up a monopoly. Beyond that, he’s providing a cheaper alternative for Islanders to get to and from the airports.
“It’s against the public good,” Cogliano said. “They should provide as many options as possible … They’re loyalty should not be to one particular bus company.”