Hospital wrong on early freight ferry


To the Editor:

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital CEO Denise Schepici must be a very powerful, and persuasive, person on the Vineyard. In releasing a 2024 ferry schedule that continues to offer highly objectionable 5:30 am freight trips from Woods Hole, the Steamship Authority acknowledged relying in large part on a supportive letter from her.

Ms. Schepici is misinformed about the reasons for such strong opposition to these trips. One would hope the head of a hospital would check the facts before submitting such an important letter.

First, petitioners in Falmouth are not objecting to the existence of a 5:30 am ferry from Woods Hole. It is the presence of large, noisy trucks on that ferry to which we have long objected. Those trucks wake up households in residentially zoned neighborhoods before 5 am on a daily basis along the Falmouth–Woods Hole corridor. We have said this repeatedly in our testimony at public hearings. The problem is not the cars and passengers on the 5:30 am ferry. It is the large and noisy freight trucks on that pre-dawn ferry.

Second, Falmouth residents have observed and inventoried the truck companies on the 5:30 am ferry. We have looked for, but have never seen, healthcare employees on that ferry. Only a very small number of passengers commute on it. Our understanding from firsthand accounts is that the more comfortable 6 am ferry from Woods Hole allows nurses and other workers to reach the M.V. Hospital by 7 am without problem. Similarly, we have seen no sign of delivery of medicine on the 5:30 am ferry. It is difficult for us to imagine what trucks serving the hospital at 5:30 am could not serve the hospital from a 6 am or later ferry.

Third, the fundamental reason we object is the sleep deprivation caused by this deafening truck traffic. One would think that a hospital, and its senior administrators, would appreciate this public health issue. The irony of a hospital representative supporting transport practices that inflict sleep deprivation on hundreds of households is not lost on our community.

Nat Trumbull
Woods Hole