Petition seeks public hearing on early morning ferries

A petition has triggered the need for the Steamship Authority to call a public hearing over its 2023 schedule. — George Brennan

Woods Hole residents are forcing a public hearing on the Steamship Authority’s 2023 schedule, again objecting to the 5:30 am freight ferries scheduled to go from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard. 

Nat Trumbull, a Woods Hole resident who organized the petition drive, said he has gotten the necessary 50 signatures to require a public hearing to be called.

“We, the undersigned, are writing to renew our strenuous objection to the 5:30 am freight trip from Woods Hole proposed by the Steamship Authority concerning its 2023 freight operating schedules between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard as announced in the Steamship Authority’s advertisement in the Falmouth Enterprise and on the SSA website,” the petition states. “We object to the SSA scheduling of the 5:30 am early morning freight from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard and its multiple negative public health impacts on Falmouth and Woods Hole residents caused by predawn noise as well as the ever-increasing threats to public safety resulting from increasing freight truck traffic over Falmouth roads leading to and from Woods Hole. Alternative scheduling proposed by the Falmouth transportation committee would address this matter. The Falmouth select board has repeatedly requested that the 5:30 am freight schedule be eliminated. The consistent failure of the SSA to consider the impact of its schedules on the residents of this community is unacceptable, and must change immediately.”

The petition seeks a public hearing within 14 days of the petition being submitted.

The SSA is allowing freight service between New Bedford and Nantucket after UPS failed to reserve space on Nantucket ferries during the busy summer months.

In his email asking for petition signatures, Trumbull alleges that the SSA has failed “to take adequate steps to shift non-time-sensitive Vineyard freight” through New Bedford to the Island. A request for proposals issued by the SSA has “too many conditions,” Trumbull wrote.

On Wednesday, the SSA confirmed that it received the petition, and scheduled a public hearing for Wednesday, June 8, at 5 pm via Zoom.


  1. The combination of entitlement and myopia displayed by some Woods Hole residents is astounding. Just because a place is served by a ferry instead of a highway does not give residents of an adjoining town say over when traffic should be allowed to pass through their town. How would Woods Hole residents react if Bourne residents tried to restrict their use of the bridge?

  2. What’s astounding is the ability of some to expound gratuitously about matters which they obviously know little about and care even less about addressing constructively.

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