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Steamship Authority fares will increase; island residents get break on excursion rate

Ferry departing Woods Hole
S Junker
Ferry departing Woods Hole

The cost of traveling on Steamship Authority ferries will rise next year for most people.

The Steamship Authority Board of Governors on Tuesday, Oct. 18 approved the fare increases, but backed off a proposed increase in the island resident excursion rate.

When some governors raised concerns about the proposed increase for the excursion rate for Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard residents, Steamship Authority treasurer Mark Rozum offered an alternative plan.

He said the raising car rates another two dollars each way from January to May 14th and from September to the end of the year would generate an equivalent amount of revenue.

The Steamship Authority is being hit by rising fuel costs and the expense of hiring its first chief operating officer. Increasing fares was seen as the only way to generate more revenue.

During discussion of the fare increases, Martha's Vineyard representative James Malkin told the board the move to exclude island residents from the excursion rate increase might not be popular.

"I've had a good bit of correspondence, or as I call it fan mail, from people from port communities who are not on the island about the inequity of islanders having cheaper fares than people in the port communities coming here," Malkin said. He did, however vote for the substitute plan.

New Bedford governor and board chairwoman Moira Tierney, also endorsed the idea of not increasing excursion rates for islanders.

Governors were assured by their legal counsel Terence Kenneally that they were within their rights to set the rate as they see fit.

Fares on the Hyannis to Nantucket route will increase between $9 and $20 for standard vehicles.

On the Martha's Vineyard routes, standard vehicle rates will rise between $5 and $10.

An 8 percent increase was approved for vehicles over 20 feet on all routes.

Increases were also improved for year-round and daily parking rates at SSA parking lots; daily passenger rates; and multi-ride booklets.

A complete list of fares is on the Steamship Authority's website, www.steamshipauthority.com.

John Basile is the local host of All Things Considered weekday afternoons and a reporter.