With the large volume of passengers traveling between St. Thomas and St. John, it is difficult to understand how two ferryboat companies can be suffering financial hardship.
Over the past two years the public has sustained large fare increases. Until the ferry companies open their books to an independent audit and provide a means of income verification, the Governor and Public Service Commission should look long and hard at any subsidies or fare increases.
If indeed a hardship does exist, would it not be due to two ferry companies splitting service that one company should be able to provide? Duplication of owner's compensation, management salaries, utilities and rentals of office space and other facilities is not cost effective.
Expenses are easy enough to determine by a competent audit, but the income from a cash business is another story.
Until the ferry companies employ an independent ticket sales agent, approved and monitored by the Public Service Commission, their income will remain in question.
Fuel and boat maintenance costs are high; however, are not those costs somewhat alleviated by the averaged more moderate wages of ticket takers, deck hands and captains, as well as, if other Port Authority leases are any indication, rentals of dock space?
Hardship or no hardship, that is the question.
Lovango Cay, V.I.
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