Unhappy Marine Highway customer speaks

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What exactly is the purpose of the Alaska Marine Highway?

The AMHS Mission Statement (from their website) reads, “… to provide safe, reliable, and efficient transportation of people, goods, and vehicles among Alaska communities …”

The haphazard winter schedule for Haines is just that; haphazard. No apparent rhyme or reason! One week we may get service 5 days. The next we get 4 days, not necessarily the same days. The M/V Fairweather (aptly named) may be scheduled; but can’t be relied on.

I need to travel to Juneau for my employment. The ferry schedule forces me to travel anywhere from 1 to 3 days before I am to go to work. This forces me to stay in Juneau overnight. This gets costly at a minimum of $100 per night. Since I cannot afford such expense, I try to fly when no ship is available. Winter weather makes flying out of Haines even more unreliable. We don’t have Alaska Airlines service here. Consequently, I have lost income this past month, due to AMHS’ inability to provide reliable transportation.

Meanwhile, a 500 passenger capacity ship (the M/V Columbia) is docked in Ketchikan. It is not in the shipyard being worked on. It is merely sitting there collecting dust, while we residents (for which AMHS was created) are left stranded when service is needed.

AMHS was created to provide service to Alaskans. We are the ones paying for it. We should be the first priority for service, not the traveling summer tourists.

Maybe I should bill AMHS for income lost.

A disgruntled Alaskan,

Deann Myers


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