Late ferry proposed by Martha’s Vineyard businesses

Atria owner says he wants to start a conversation to assist tourism businesses.

A petition drive seeks to add a late-night ferry that would bring hospitality and tourism employees from the Island to Woods Hole opening the workforce to more commuters. -George Brennan

Updated 7/25

A petition drive launched by Edgartown restaurant owner Christian Thornton is calling for the Steamship Authority to add a late-night Steamship Authority ferry during the busy tourist season so the Island can attract off-Island hospitality workers.

As of Sunday morning, less than 24 hours after the petition was launched, it already had more than 100 signatures, and by Monday morning, that had grown to more than 225.

“Everywhere on Martha’s Vineyard, proprietors of hotels and restaurants will tell you that the housing shortage on-Island is forcing a never-ending escalation of cost and effort to house their staff,” Thornton, who owns the upscale Atria restaurant in Edgartown, wrote.

In a subsequent comment, Thornton appears to believe the petition will automatically launch a need for a public hearing. That’s not the case, according to SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll responding to a question about whether a hearing on the issue would be automatic. In a text message to The Times, he wrote, “It needs to be within 30 days of us advertising the schedules, it has to be residents of a port community, it has to be delivered to us, etc.”

According to the petition, the lack of affordable rentals on the Island due to the short-term rental market has forced restaurant and hotel owners to purchase housing for their staff.

In the past two years, with the housing market on the Island surging, the median home price has gone from $800,000 to $1.2 million. That has spurred a renewed push for more affordable and workforce housing on the Island, which resulted in a Housing Bank winning in a landslide at town meetings and in town elections. The Housing Bank still requires legislative approval, which remains a wild card.

“If the Steamship Authority were to offer a vessel to Woods Hole from the Island each evening after 11:30 pm, these businesses would have the opportunity to employ both Islanders and mainlanders who could fill open positions on-Island and commute back and forth to Woods Hole like so many commuters across the U.S.,” the petition states. “The Steamship Authority currently offers an opportunity in their schedule that effectively serves as a thoroughfare for the construction and building trades people who live off-Island and commute to M.V. every day to work.”

The petition cites Martha’s Vineyard Commission research that shows hospitality and tourism workers represent the largest percentage of workers on the Vineyard. “The hospitality industry is currently poorly served by the Steamship schedule, which ends at 9:30 pm each night. So it is clear that the tourism element of the economy could see significant benefit if the Island’s businesses could gainfully have access to a larger pool of potential workers residing on the Cape,” the petition states. 

The petition goes on to urge the SSA to help solve the issue. “The Steamship has, in its power, the ability to dramatically improve the lives and lower the cost of living for Islanders everywhere by doing its part to reduce the need to house hospitality industry employees on the Island, which will create lots of potential housing inventory for Vineyard families to remain in their winter homes,” the petition states. “We call for the Steamship Authority to serve the Island that we live on, raise our families, and serve with passion every day. The SSA needs to do its part to support the largest part of the Island economy, and add a single passage nightly from Martha’s Vineyard to Woods Hole, after 11 pm, for hospitality workers from Memorial Day through Labor Day each summer …”

The petition mechanism has been used frequently by Woods Hole residents to question the need for 5:30 am freight boats. Despite their push to have the SSA eliminate those early-morning crossings, the SSA has held firm that they are needed to supply goods to the Island. It has led to some changes, including restricting the times that trucks arrive in Woods Hole, and using ferries that don’t require trucks to back onto the freight deck.

The SSA administration is aware of the petition drive, James Malkin, who represents the Island on the SSA board, told The Times. He said given the vocal opposition to early-morning boats, he sees a late-night boat into Woods Hole as a nonstarter. 

“Our friends from Falmouth would not welcome late-night service there,” Malkin said. “The other issue is staffing and hours of service for the Steamship Authority crews.”

Indeed, there has already been some pushback from Woods Hole residents. In an email to The Times, shared with other Woods Hole residents as well, Damien Kuffler wrote that the petition raises a lot of questions that need to be addressed — whether vehicles will be allowed, whether there is any evidence that it would open up housing on the Island to other individuals, and whether potential commuters have been consulted.

“In conclusion, while the proposal appears logical and beneficial superficially, there is no logic or transparency. Therefore, before any additional late-night runs to and from the Vineyard are formally considered, all the details associated with them must be presented along with assurances for the workers and mainland residents,” Kuffler wrote. “Assurances would be compensation to the workers, and no late freight passing through Woods Hole. In addition, it must also be made clear that any additional runs would not lead to further negative impacts on workers and long-term residents of either the Vineyard or the Cape.”

The SSA continues to talk with its licensees — HyLine, SeaStreak, and Island Queen, among them — about additional crossings. New Bedford might be the more logical choice for any late-night commuter ferry, Malkin said.

In a conversation with The Times Monday, Thornton said he used the petition as a conversation starter. “I’m not an expert on the matter. I understand feasibility studies have to happen. I’m recognizing the housing crisis and labor crisis, and hoping we can start a dialogue to fix this situation,” he said. This summer has been particularly difficult. For every worker he hires, another one can’t accept a position because there’s simply no place to live. 

Housing has been lost to the short-term rental market. “I don’t have hard data. So many rooms and homes have been taken out of the equation,” he said. “They’ve changed hands, some used for vacation renters.” Thornton said he would have a lot of applicants for jobs, but when it came to finding a place to live, it would limit the choices. “I don’t think it’s unique to me.”

The idea was spurred by seeing tradesmen commuting to the Island on early-morning ferries.
“I’m interested in our community kicking around the idea of essentially a commuter rail,” Thornton said. “Our commuter rail floats. I know there are issues with Woods Hole. New Bedford could be the answer.”

Malkin said he wishes petitioners would come to him, or port councilors John Cahill in Vineyard Haven or Joseph Sollitto in Oak Bluffs, rather than launching petition drives. Regardless, he said, the SSA will continue to look at options. “It would help to come to us directly rather than going online with petitions,” Malkin said.

Updated to provide more information.  -Ed.


    • Or perhaps open up more vehicle spaces for Islanders and other vehicle owners wishing to leave the Island. Less cars on MV is a good thing. Why let valuable deck space go to waste? No freight vehicles to spare our Falmouth neighbors the noise and vibration from large trucks at that hour.

      • Your Falmouth neighbors don’t want trucks at any hour.
        New Bedford wants them seven twenty-four.
        Don’t go where you are not wanted.

        • Al, Does this too go for certain people looking to buy houses in certain neighborhoods ? Don’t go where you are not wanted? I think that kind of thinking has proven to be problematic. Or maybe you miss spoke, or not.

  1. Yes, let’s dump the greed for more restaurants that serve $32 hamburgers on the SSA so that the public can end up bearing the brunt of higher ferry tix to offset the SSA’s increased costs for overtime for employees with families, fuel, maintenance, etc. I suppose it makes more sense to demand the SSA increase its costs, that the public ends up paying, to service the greedy than to extort (excuse me, tax) 2% on million+ dollar home buyers so that restaurant and building greed can lap up the benefits of not having to provide housing or pay a MV living wage to their employees in non-essential-to-life jobs. Maybe t-shirt stores want to stay open late at night but can’t pay their employees enough, so they should be able to commute at 11:30pm, too.

    This is what happens when an economy sells its soul to depend on tourism and building development that caters to the wealthy and those with expendable income, hoping they spend it all HERE.

    How many restaurants does one island need? How many expensive ones? Apparently, enough to entitled itself to middle of the night ferry runs. Beach Road Weekend may get away with manipulation of the SSA to suit its greedy self, so it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump to get from there to here. Chutzpah, baby, chutzpah.

    Memo to Atria: The SSA does not exist to service your bottom line.

    • I generally agree with you. But this proposal is prefereable to the housing bank. So if it spares us the HB as an alternative, then I am for it. I agree with you however, that each crossing should be economically viable and not passed on to others in taxes or increased costs of passage. Maybe the cost of a late ticket needs to be higher or something. Any deficit should be borne by the business owners who benefit from the extra trip. Still we should see where this goes, no? Even if only to finally see some independent data on the as of yet unverified claims of the HB regarding the number of workers on MV who cannot find housing.

      • Dan, it’s the mindset, like Adam’s, that ignores what you try to protect: islanders and the island we love and leave behind to next generations.

        I agree that a late night ferry is preferable to a housing bank, but a quick fix for business that makes it easier to choose where to go for a $32 burger, but harder still to get a medical appointment is not any kind of fix that is beneficial to the island. The island is not unique in staff and housing shortages. Throwing artificial solutions into a marketplace that needs to adjust itself makes it temporarily better for business, but does nothing else.

        At least this attempt at growth and increasing profits doesn’t pretend to give a hoot about teachers and police. It’s pretty shortsighted (idiotic) to think that bringing an endless supply of restaurant/hospitality staff onto the island (that no one actually needs to live) will free up housing for nurses, lol. What it will do is give business more business and faster business. Just what our tiny island needs less of these days. Let the marketplace adjust itself. The only artificial adjustments should be for our essential workers, NOT for a selfish greed that can’t see how damaging it is to bring over throngs to increase their profits.

      • What is preferable to Falmouth is that the Island house it’s workers on Island.
        Do you care about what Falmouth wants?

    • Jackie

      Get a grip. Having to house restaurant and hotel workers takes beds and space away from people who live here.

      And you’re wrong about the SSA’s purpose. Just like the T, subways, highways, or any mass transit system, the SSA is specifically designed to provide infrastructure and thoroughfares for businesses and people here.

      Where would you get the idea of any other purpose to having those large boats delivering cargo and passengers? When did you become a lobbyist for the SSA?

      • Housing island workers is the point, many do not want to live on an elitist enclave. I moved here to work and live over forty years ago for a summer. I was charmed by the make up of the population, I was swinging a hammer, sweeping and mopping floors at night, and cutting lawns in my off time and saving all my pennies to buy a home which happened. My love of this place is the village concept where laborers, artists, lawyers, retirees, school children and dreamers who may happily encompass all listed. Anyone who works here has a right to live here I don’t want the likes of you deciding who is worthy of calling themselves an islander.

    • I dont often agree with you Jackie but 100% spot on especially about that manipulative disrespectfull beach road guy who thinks he suddenly owns the rock and he can buy anything or anyone. I like atria but bad move on them also

      • Before you slander me in writing, on a public forum, please cite where I’ve been manipulative.

        And please cite where I’ve “bought anything or anyone.”

        You really should be more considerate and respectful of people you don’t know and have never met.

        The Times should be embarrassed to let you publish offensive and baseless lies online, who only responds to Jackie’s personal attacks on that same website.

        If you don’t want to hear what I have to say, don’t slander me in this forum or any other and I will not have anything to reply to.

    • “Jacki”…you definitely have a talent calling it like you see it. Hard to argue with you here. This is the second time in a week that I’m in agreement with you. You may have kicked me around some but don’t you think for a minute you knocked any sense into me. I’m sure I’ll find something to go back at you with. Just not on this or Dershowitz.

      • Carl– you have also recently agreed with me. What’s going on ? Perhaps some sense is actually being “knocked into you”.
        But really, I have always thought you have quite a bit of sense, and you often make very good points. Even when I disagree with them. But be careful, andy doesn’t seem to like it when you agree with a liberal who makes a good point.
        You don’t want to find yourself being “cancelled” by the likes of him and his ilk after all.
        A tip of the hat to you, my friend…

        • Ha! I have always preferred to engage with people who don’t necessarily think like me. I never learned anything from being around people who just agreed with me. Half the time I think people are too afraid to speak their mind and say what they are truly thinking. I always said I never learned anything when I won my wrestling matches. It’s the ones I lost where I learned the most.

        • Albert– given the way this forum is set up, and the replies are stacked, it is sometimes hard to discern who you are replying to.
          it looks like you are commenting on my comment to Carl.
          So , if so, do you have a problem with me replying to Carl in a “personal” way ?
          How do we as a community bridge the political abyss between left and right without some commodarity and respect ?
          We all seem to seek some sort of unity.
          Andy is upset that Carl occasionally agrees with me , and does it in a polite way. Are you equally upset that I am betraying my liberal positions by acknowledging thoughtful comments by someone who has a political ideology that I do not agree with ?
          Or perhaps you are just replying to Carl’s comment about how he learned to improve himself after personal failures.
          But Albert–The human condition is personal. That is why sapiens are the dominant species on this planet– we have personal connections with each other, and we exchange our feeling, ideas, and emotions.
          That’s the human condition– I sincerely apologize if I got the jist of your comment wrong.

          • Keller, I am not upset when someone agrees with you. I just think one person is a bit obsequious which is rather a large word for you.

          • Andrew, I don’t think I’m obedient or overly attentive to Keller. I think we have an adversarial political dialogue on many topics but try not to take negative personal shots at each other. I agree with you far more often but if I commented every time that I agreed with you I would simply look like your biggest cheerleader. And you clearly don’t need that. If I made things personal with Mr. Keller and others they would probably ignore me and then I would have no dialogue with people. I always look forward to your informed comments, opinions and political banter. If I sound obsequious to you by saying that then so be it, respectfully.

          • ”Those who appease the alligator will simply be eaten last”
            Mr Kelly, I agree that being nice is a good thing. But some people on this site are enraged and hysterical when one doesnt see it their way. Good luck to you.

          • andy– I’ll give you credit for one thing.. You have mastered the right wing tactic of blatantly doing something and stating that others are in fact the one’s doing it.
            Just look at your comments about Carl and I being civil to each other. And we all know that you can’t stand it when Jackie and I agree on something, and you love it when we disagree. Nothing divisive there.
            You seem to be the one that is enraged enough to lecture Carl about how he should respond to me, and accuse me of somehow plotting some evil scheme where I will ensnarl Carl in some sort of philosophical trap for some reason or another. You even seem frustrated enough to take an insulting cheap shot at my vocabulary skills.
            If I really went after Carl on some issue that we disagree about, I am sure that Carl has thick enough skin to deal with it and defend himself. As would I.
            Yes, it’s pretty clear that someone here is in fact enraged and hysterical, but it’s not me.

  2. I want to bring a table and chair set up to MV and taking a late night ferry would be fine. Currently with boats so full, I am resigned to wait until the off season. If managed properly these late night boats could help a lot.

    • The boats should run at least every hour round the clock.
      Every twenty minutes during the rush hours of six to noon and four till three AM.
      That will fix the Island’s housing problems.
      But not Falmouth’s.
      The Island exports garbage and sleepers.

  3. I am hopeful this will be brought before the SSA for economic analysis and a hearing. In the meantime, I support it. If this can be done it will be a creative solution that spares the Island from overpopulation and overdevelopment. A win/win for the environment and local businesses. This is also a preferable alternative to the imposition of a tax and a new bureaucracy to aquire and develop new housing on MV. This SSA proposal will not have the negative impact on our fragile ecosystem. If what the HB people have been telling us is true, the demand should be great enough to make this proposal economically viable.

    • I am scratching my head as to where in Falmouth people are finding places to live.

      Falmouth also has a housing shortage.

      Maybe over in East Falmouth, or beyond?
      How are they getting to the ferry? Using public transit? Or driving their cars and parking somewhere, thus adding to the congestion in Falmouth, not to mention pollution?

      It is very sad that the Vineyard has become a kind of Gold Coast where a lot of people come to make a buck. The costs of this—some more obvious than others—are borne both on the Island and off.

  4. Where do they think these folks are going to live? Housing on the Cape is also in short supply, and increasingly out of reach for working families. Getting hospitality workers off the Vineyard may be attractive to the Vineyard’s employers, but it’s just moving the problem somewhere else. We need to solve the Vineyard’s housing problems on the Vineyard.

    • No one is moving anyone to the Cape. It just opens the Cape’s labor pool to work at the island restaurants and hotels and return home at the end of the night.

      • The Cape’s labor and housing pool is oversubscribed.
        They do not want to become the Island’s bedroom community.
        Like the Island the Cape is a tourism based economy.
        The Cape needs it’s bedrooms for it’s worker bees.

  5. The Island really sucks now sold two years ago built in 1987 thank God was able to enjoy MV when the Island was special and no greed. Every one was pleasant and no high end SUVs

    • Ya know, it’s a mixed bag, but your take on it and the folks that talk about greed, unfortunately, there is a substantial amount of documented truth to that. Tisbury Select Board bent over big time when money was offered for Veterans Memorial Park – to the detriment of all but people greedy for more business or a fun tine. Tourism is so established as a cause that VTA buses can run at huge deficits and create massive Co2 whether gas or diesel or electric because of greed. The SSA is unfortunately addicted to growth rather than simply serve islanders. Do we interpret an islander as anyone wanting to profit? If so, I am as guilty as anyone but what can we do? We made as good a living in 1972 as we did in 2022, it is just that it takes a lot more people and cars and airplanes and boats to do it with. So what is the answer? Probably is not one except the grass is looking a lot greener where the impulses are a lot less greedy. Seems to be a connection there somehow.

      • Agree, Frank. It may look like I am anti-business, but I certainly am not, just as I am not anti affordable housing because I am against the housing bank tax.

        If you look at who was all over social media champing at the bit for a housing bank (a successful restaurant guy who carried on about how it would be good for nurses) and now, who is all over social media jumping up and down like an excited two year old to promote late night ferries for commuters to staff businesses, you have a pretty clear idea who cares about housing for teachers, doctors, plumbers and police, and who is in it for themselves and their ability to take what they can while the taking is good.

  6. I guess everyone should help pay to keep feeding the rich. Unfortunately the slave labor force – what you call “workers” – is in short supply here in Falmouth. Just like the Vineyard.

    Just to keep it real: New Bedford offers a wealth of workers.

    • Are you suggesting that we import workers from New Bedford, running fast ferries does use some fuel. And why do “we” need these workers so restaurants have workers? You know where I eat out which is rare islanders run and work the restaurant at one and an old time family from Boston house all their workers here on island as part of their business model at the other. Ya that’s right I only eat out at two restaurants maybe twice a month , why you may ask, I made my living here on island, bought my house here and plan to stay. Living within our house hold means makes it possible. Are we poor no way, I go clamming when I want, fishing when the mood hits, throw on the suit and hit the beach early morning or after dinner. I don’t think we need to import workers, once the people who demand service now and I mean now find out it is not possible here on the island less will come back and housing prices may reduce, many will say that would be terrible but not many that are living here for the long haul.

      • Carlos what percentage of restaurant and hotel workers live on Island year around.
        Of the two restaurants you patronize what percentage of the workers live on Island year around.

        That some employers provide employee housing is driven by cost.
        Include housing and lower wages.

  7. Dock a cruise ship in VH harbor June, July and August for seasonal workers. Everything is environmentally contained. An abundance of clean rooms. Split the costs between workers and their employers. Government should forgo docking fees etc to keep costs down. Perhaps this would drive down other costs on the island. Ok, I’m ready for the slings and arrows.

    • Carl– That great idea gets kicked around a few times every year. It seems to never be taken seriously.
      A quick google search for “small cruise ships for sale” turns up dozens of them.

      Here is one for under $5.5 million that has space for 130 passengers and crew. And a restaurant to boot. 240 ft.– it’s about the size of the American cruise line ship that docks there occasionally. Ready to go..– (well, after it gets here from Fiji.)
      Oprah could dock somewhere else and helicopter to the Vineyard.
      the 6th one down is the one I am talking about. You can download the pdf file for more detailed info.
      Figuring 6 million for 150 people is about $40 k per person. Amortized over 25 years, that’s $1,600 a year.. — $ 133 a month plus interest payments plus maintenance fees etc. It would easily be under $600 per month per person….
      That’s just one page of one site.
      or, we could just renovate one of the ferries that are about to retire and put it next to the existing ferry slips in V.H — Just run it aground and put some pilings around it to keep it in place– easy peasy..
      I’m ok with the town charging docking fees.
      But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the town to deny access to a few billionaires for the benefit of the working class, and pull something like this off.

      • Great research. Maybe the Trustees can ask a few of those billionaires if we can fish off their yachts and then they would never have to open up those trails for us common folk. But I digress. And to be totally honest I am pretty lucky to call myself “common folk” on this island and in this country. Looking at some of my comments I really need to stop and be grateful for what I have and what we have. Raman! (What the H@LL is happening to me?)

        • Carl–I get it–I am proud to be an “average carpenter” and think people should be able to own guns !!! Be careful– I heard the liberals are putting something in the spaghetti sauce ! It seems to be more effective than when we were putting vaccines in salad dressing , or microchips in the vaccines for that matter.
          Perhaps spaghetti sauce is the new Kool aid..You never know what dastardly concoctions both side are cooking up..

          • Something is up… I was defending lawyers the other day too…they can take my old DeWalt tools but from my cold dead hands will they pry my Festools. Jeeps, guns and power tools get me in trouble and now fishing.

      • Great idea Albert. We can offset cost by selling advertisements on the side of the boat for local business and non existent OSV permits that the Trustees restrict to utter uselessness. Now you’re catching on.

  8. The Vinyard and Nantucket should build container docks and ship 20 and 40 containers from New Bedford. Prices would go way done. Food cost more on the islands, that food shipped from the west coast to Honolulu.

    • William– you have a good point–shipping freight as freight in containers and then having it loaded onto trucks for local delivery would be extremely cost effective. No driver for the trips back and forth, no stranded drivers overnight when something goes wrong with the steamship ( as if that would ever happen) and jobs for locals with cdl’s .
      Return trips could take things such as junk cars, scrap metal and recyclables to the mainland.

  9. I’m skeptical about how much this will help when the Cape is currently suffering from its own shortage of workers within the same industries.

    I also feel bad for the residents of Woods Hole. They already put up with Island-related noise at inconvenient hours.

  10. A New Bedford run is not the answer! A proven failure. Don’t buy a home by the harbor if you don’t like the activity that comes with it.

    • Mark– I hope you are not personally offended when I point out that your comment is over the top self centered– we all share our community after all.

      • I prefer more privacy, less traffic, less taxes, less pollution, less crime, and I am willing to live with less services to achieve this. Like I said, let the employers pay for this…they are the ones that benefit the most.

  11. If there was a Casino in New Bedford or Fairhaven. It would be economically feasible for everyone involved including the Wampanoags.

    • How would a Casino in Fairhaven help out the Wampanoags?
      They would be daily commuters?
      Why not let them gamble on Island?

      • If they could secure some land for a casino. It could be a quick destination off the island for tourist, renters, and guest looking to gamble, which would help pay for the late night ferry off the island for workers that business owners are looking to attract.

  12. I support late night subsidized, hopefully fast ferries, from the Cape or other South Coast communities. I don’t think most islanders understand how many potential island year round rentals are taken up by businesses for employee housing. Literally hundreds of homes. Most employers would be glad to get rid of this burden as long as they could attract employees from off island. If you’re living in places like Wareham or New Bedford the wages paid here are well worth the travel time.

    • PS. Re “I don’t think most islanders understand how many potential island year round rentals are taken up by businesses for employee housing. Literally hundreds of homes. ”

      Yes. Second nail in MV housing coffin, after Airbnb. And I reckon employers are paying Gold Coast rates for often substandard housing. And I reckon the employers don’t care, because they can deduct this expense from their taxes as a business expense.
      And the employees can just revolve through. Great for the sense of community . . .

  13. Psssss….hate to break it to all you ‘islanders’. People make just as much if not more on the cape without the nightmare commute. Let me be clear. Your not special.

  14. Findings of report prepared for the Harbor Development Commission, City of New Bedford, by FXM Associates and KJS Associates, concerning the ultimate retail cost of goods sold on the Vineyard and Nantucket if non-time-sensitive freight were to ship from New Bedford:

    “The increment of cost to the retail price of goods sold on the islands of diverting one-third of all freight to New Bedford would be under 0.35 percent in all tested cases.

    While the increment of cost to shippers of New Bedford-based service would range from 12 to 40 percent (worst case), the cost of ferry transportation represents only 0.8 percent of the retail price of goods sold on the islands.

    Thus, while marginal change in the cost of this last leg of the trip is significant to the shipper, it results in very small change in the ultimate retail price of products sold on the islands.

    It is estimated that the cost of goods wholesaled in the New Bedford area averages 2.9 percent less than comparable goods sold in Massachusetts as a whole.

    If 10 percent of the shippers changed suppliers as a result of a shift in operations to New Bedford, it would result in a reduction of the wholesale costs of goods sufficient to eliminate the increase in transportation costs.”

    Source: New Bedford Freight Ferry Project Technical Memorandum Regional Market Analysis and Draft Operating Plan, see

  15. Markets are fundamentally efficient, the SSA has become a bottleneck that has served to restrict supply, driving up the cost of everything. We call it the “Vineyard Tax”, everything costs at least 20% more on island than off, which has untold unintended consequences. The answer to the man made bottleneck of the SSA isn’t more regulation, more taxes or more subsidies, that’s just politics, which IMHO rarely solves anything. What’s needed is allowing the private sector to find a solution. If there were no bottleneck to and from the island the “Vineyard Tax” would largely disappear and the cost of everything would drop to roughly mainland levels, when my grandparents came to the island in the 1930’s the island was inexpensive compared to the mainland, there was no such thing as a “Vineyard Tax”. This “Vineyard Tax” is an enormous amount of money, that if freed up should be able to find a solution. A solution the SSA is incapable of achieving as it’s simply not in their regulated charter. At the moment everyone is unhappy, so I can only conclude that a major change is needed. I suggest we turn to the free market and good old fashion competition, it would be difficult to do worse than we’re doing now. FYI, I’m retired 3rd generation island resident, I’ve witnessed the SSA slowly choke off access to and from the island, always paved with the best of intentions. But as the saying goes, a camel is a horse designed by a committee. What regulation and control has produced doesn’t meet the needs of the rapidly evolving community. How many years ago did we tear down the old Woods Hole ticket office to build a new one, and we’ve spent many millions and accomplished what, do we need more proof that that to agree that a fundamental change in strategy is needed.

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