Letter: Room to improve ferry policies

Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Now that the controversy is over and there is not a clear-cut agreement on a road or more ferries I would suggest that we really need both. One will complement the other. At present there is a real bottleneck with the ferry system. From about May to the end of September the local people in Southeast must have reservations weeks or months in advance to assure vehicle space when they are required to travel. Much of the time that just is not possible. Furthermore most are required to travel with their roundtrip portion of the ticket on an open ticket status, which means they could be on standby status on their return trip, which could mean long expensive delays. The road would give an option and would also give the tourists access to Juneau and the choice to reboard the ferry for further travel to other destinations on the system route.

There is serious doubt that the small, so-called high speed boats with their small vehicle capacity will make any real difference and that will be at a high cost in the ever-increasing price of fuel.

Road or not, the high-speed ferry will only supplement the other boats. I would like to see the ferry system have a policy in place that would set aside 10 percent of the deck space to be used by registered Alaska vehicles.

Any no-shows would provide their space and would be used on a first-come basis for any standby vehicles. The ferry system would not lose any revenue and no additional time would be lost.

After all the system was meant to serve Alaskan interests and not as tour boats. The present day boat is the best answer so far but should be left on schedule till at least the end of October.

Bud Womack


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