The island’s two ferry companies say they are resuming trips to Charlotte Amalie from Cruz Bay. Varlack Ventures and Transportation Services told the Virgin Islands Daily News its boats stopped making the run recently because they had to be inspected and needed "unforeseen repairs." (Read the story.)
Meanwhile the ferry companies have told the Public Services Commission they need a subsidy from the government to purchase new boats. The ferry companies plead that they are losing money.
Exactly how much, nobody knows for sure. Because the ferry companies have failed to produce financial reports for the PSC to review. Keeping records and accounting for fares collected is not the ferries’ strong suit. Sometimes you get a receipt, sometimes you don’t. Who knows what gets reported?
3 thoughts on “Charlotte Amalie ferry back in service”
My wife drops me off at the ferry dock at 7:20 this morning to take the newly established 7:30 St John to downtown boat. As I approach the closed gate with someone else trying to take the downtown ferry, a couple of ferry company employees and security guard are standing by the gate. We ask these folks if there was going to be a 7:30 boat, at which point we are yelled at saying it is a 7:15 boat and we better hurry if we want to make it. We tried to explain that according to the sign that is posted at the ferry dock and the press releases printed in the newspaper the ferry is now 7:30. The response we get is to be yelled at again that the ferry is 7:15 and the boat is about to pull away. Not wanting to miss the ferry or continue arguing a case that you cannot win and will only get you banned from the ferry’s all together, we make our way to the boat.
I have a commuter ticket book and hand the ticket collector my ticket. The other person boarding with me does not have a ticket and tries to pay cash. The ticket collector explains that he is not supposed to take cash and that she has to go back to the ticket booth and buy a ticket. Problem – apparently the ticket booth seller thought it was a 7:15 ferry too, or they had to leave for some other reason, but they were not selling tickets anymore. Why sell tickets if the guard has already closed the gate? The captain overhears us explaining to the ticket collector the scenario that just went down and he reassures us that it is definitely a 7:30, not 7:15 boat and allows the woman to pay cash.
(On a side note, we shall see if they continue to take my commuter tickets when they expire in a few days. I purchased it two days after they cancelled the downtown service “indefinitely” and the tickets are only good for 30 days).
The ferry leaves right on time and it is a pleasant ride. It is important to note the security guard closed the gate behind us making the dock appear closed, even though there was still sometime before the 7:30 boat was supposed to depart.
The 7:30 ferry is a tough one for commuters. My job is a little flexible in the morning, so getting to the office at 8:30/45 is workable for me if I am aware of it, but for others, it is too late and they will still have to take the 6 or 7 Red Hook boat.
At the end of the day, the last boat from Charlotte Amalie to STJ is 4:00. This makes no sense. It is too early for commuters to make and many of the planes arriving don’t get in until after 3. By the time the passengers get off the plane, get their luggage and wait for the taxi to fill before leaving, they will never make the 4 boat.
One has to wonder if the ferry companies have done this on purpose. They have wanted to end the downtown service for sometime now. This new schedule could be a convenient way to justify ending the service all together.
Can anyone explain the attitude the ferry people have? This is supposed to be a tourist destination, but getting to and from St. John on the ferries is obnoxious. What’s up?
Tim, what’s up is that there is not other way of getting between islands. They own the means of transporation.
They really don’t care.