87.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 19, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFerry Service Still in Jeopardy

Ferry Service Still in Jeopardy

Nov. 16, 2007 — The ferries that run between St. Thomas and St. John will operate at least through Monday, St. Thomas attorney Claudette Ferron said Friday.
"On Monday, we'll make a decision as to our next step," she said.
A meeting Wednesday to discuss a subsidy for ferry operations brought government officials together with Ferron, representatives from the two ferry companies that make runs to St. John and Aquatic Management, which operates the SeaTrans ferry between St. Thomas and St. Croix.
The government officials promised to get back to the ferry companies Monday on their plans for a subsidy, Ferron said. She hopes the government comes up with the subsidy soon, or the ferry companies will have to curtail and then stop services, she said.
"We are holding our breaths," Ferron said.
St. John Administrator Leona Smith said she doubts the ferry companies will stop service.
"They're not going to mess with their franchise," Smith said.
At the meeting Wednesday, the companies provided financial documentation to make the case for subsidies, Ferron said.
"They asked for time to read it and get up to speed," she said.
According to a statement from Government House issued Friday, the meeting provided a "significant forum" in which the government and the ferry companies presented their positions and determined the groundwork for future "collaboration."
"I would like to reassure the commuters between the islands that the V.I. government is prepared to request an appropriation from the Legislature in order to assist the ferryboat companies to meet operating costs," said Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls, according to the statement.
Ferron announced last week that continued operation of the St. John ferry companies was in jeopardy because the family owned companies were running out of money. The company owners long dipped into their personal funds to keep the companies afloat, but no longer had those resources available, she said.
"The fares do not cover the costs," Ferron said.
In her assessment, government officials did not fully understand that the ferry companies provide mass transit between the islands. It is the government's responsibility to subsidize mass transit, and that's the way it works nearly everywhere else, she argued.
"They're accustomed to not having to pay for it," Ferron said.
A government subsidy amounts to using the "people's money" for transportation, she said.
Whether or not the ferry companies receive a subsidy, they need to work on their customer service to make sure the ferries run on time and the staff is polite, Smith said.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Nov. 16, 2007 -- The ferries that run between St. Thomas and St. John will operate at least through Monday, St. Thomas attorney Claudette Ferron said Friday.
"On Monday, we'll make a decision as to our next step," she said.
A meeting Wednesday to discuss a subsidy for ferry operations brought government officials together with Ferron, representatives from the two ferry companies that make runs to St. John and Aquatic Management, which operates the SeaTrans ferry between St. Thomas and St. Croix.
The government officials promised to get back to the ferry companies Monday on their plans for a subsidy, Ferron said. She hopes the government comes up with the subsidy soon, or the ferry companies will have to curtail and then stop services, she said.
"We are holding our breaths," Ferron said.
St. John Administrator Leona Smith said she doubts the ferry companies will stop service.
"They're not going to mess with their franchise," Smith said.
At the meeting Wednesday, the companies provided financial documentation to make the case for subsidies, Ferron said.
"They asked for time to read it and get up to speed," she said.
According to a statement from Government House issued Friday, the meeting provided a "significant forum" in which the government and the ferry companies presented their positions and determined the groundwork for future "collaboration."
"I would like to reassure the commuters between the islands that the V.I. government is prepared to request an appropriation from the Legislature in order to assist the ferryboat companies to meet operating costs," said Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls, according to the statement.
Ferron announced last week that continued operation of the St. John ferry companies was in jeopardy because the family owned companies were running out of money. The company owners long dipped into their personal funds to keep the companies afloat, but no longer had those resources available, she said.
"The fares do not cover the costs," Ferron said.
In her assessment, government officials did not fully understand that the ferry companies provide mass transit between the islands. It is the government's responsibility to subsidize mass transit, and that's the way it works nearly everywhere else, she argued.
"They're accustomed to not having to pay for it," Ferron said.
A government subsidy amounts to using the "people's money" for transportation, she said.
Whether or not the ferry companies receive a subsidy, they need to work on their customer service to make sure the ferries run on time and the staff is polite, Smith said.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.