To the Editor:
As the M.V. board member on the SSA, I’d like to inform Islanders about some significant moves approved at yesterday’s board meeting, held on M.V. at the Film Center in Vineyard Haven. After the presentation of next year’s budget, which has a $5.6 million increase in fuel costs, the following decisions were taken. These should be of significant help to Islanders traveling on and off next year.
First, there will be no fare increase next year for year-round Islanders who participate in the excursion program. Second, as Islanders have had issues booking vehicle space off and back on the Island, the SSA has doubled the trips available for early booking under the Headstart program, which opens to Islanders prior to other travelers — rather than five trips, as in the past, this year there will be 10 trips available; this will help for preplanning off-Island travel. Third, the number of spaces for vehicles held for Islanders seven days in advance of sailing date and 24 hours in advance of sailing date will be increased. Fourth, a new category of spaces will be held for Islanders and made available 30 days in advance of sailing date. Finally, additional spaces will be reserved for Islanders on the early morning boats off the Island, and the late afternoon boats returning to the Island.
Information on these programs is available on the website, which is having a complete rebuild and redesign to make it more helpful and user-friendly. The new website is planned to go live in March next year.
The increase of people living on the Island and visiting the Island over the past years has made bookings difficult for those of us who need the ferry to get to and from the mainland. Your Port Council representatives, John Cahill, Joe Sollitto, and I, are pleased to have been able to work with the board and management to make these improvements. We would like to thank the board and management for making these changes.