Transportation shortcomings

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2001

I recently was an independent traveler to Juneau, from the afternoon of June 28 until the night of June 30. By "independent traveler" I mean I was traveling alone and was without transportation. I chose to travel this way in order to see more of the sights and culture of Alaska. I thought it would be more affordable as well.

I flew from Anchorage to Juneau via Alaska Airlines on the 28th. I was staying at the Wolf House B&B so I caught a taxi, which cost me $15 to get there. I decided to take the bus system to and from the Wolf House for everything else any distance away, including going to town.

The bus took me to the last stop it had scheduled for Mendenhall Glacier. I then had to walk a good mile to get to the Visitor's Center. On that walk, I encountered a black bear about 200 yards up the road. I looked around for other people or cars, then a jogger who had passed me going in the other direction caught up to me on his return trip. I mentioned the bear to him and we walked together till he got to his car. I continued on alone.

When I finished my visit to the glacier, I decided to catch a ride back to the bus with someone leaving the parking lot rather than take the chance of running into this bear again. As it turned out, another visiting family took me all the way to town.

My other "revolting development" was on my trip to the ferry terminal on the bus. I decided to take the bus rather than a taxi which would have cost me $30. Upon boarding the bus with my roller suitcase and night case attached, the night case fell from where I had it attached which made it very difficult to board the bus. The driver offered absolutely no assistance. Finally, after getting on board, two people offered me their seat so I could move out of the aisle, which was being somewhat blocked at that time. I got off the bus at the closest stop to the ferry terminal - a good mile down the road - and was lucky enough to catch a taxi to take me the rest of the way to the terminal for the cost of $5.

You may ask why I am writing? Well, it has to do with NO transportation for independent travelers from the bus stops to the ferry terminal and to Mendenhall Glacier - except expensive taxi rides from town.

I cannot be the only independent traveler who has run into this situation, but I may be the only one who has written to you about it.

You certainly would be doing yourself - as a city - and the traveler, a good turn to improve upon this situation. My suggestion would be that your bus system take people to the Visitor's Center at the glacier and to the ferry terminal.

Irene Blackburn

Waynesboro, Pa.

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