Ferry companies threaten shutdown

The Virgin Islands Public Service Commission plans an emergency meeting to weigh the possibility St. John’s two ferry companies will halt service.

An attorney for the ferry operators told the PSC in a letter that they have been subsidizing the service out of the own pockets, including funds, and cannot continue to do so.  The letter followed Gov. John deJongh’s veto last month of an appropriation of about $520,000 for the ferry operators.

Sunday afternoon, there had been no report of interruptions in ferry service .

Thew Virgin Islands Daily News reported the attorney, Claudette Ferron, stated the government, and not the companies, are responsible for financing the ferry boat franchise operation.  Without that help, Ferron said the companies will have to cut service "within days."

In response, an attorney for the Public Service Commission seemed to suggest the ferry companies’ statements about their financial situation cannot be trusted.  Tanisha Bailey-Roka reminded that efforts to justify a fare increase last year ran into trouble when the companies were unable to provide "accurate financial statements."

Over the past two years, the ferry companies’ service has been less and less reliable and more and more expensive.  Record keeping is imaginary.  There are no receipts for tickets or baggage fees.  And the blatant cries for tips for the bag handlers grow louder. 

The ferry business is a franchise from the government, which means no private competition. Now the ferry operators are trying to bludgeon the Senators into giving them money the Governor and the PSC suspect they don’t deserve.

4 thoughts on “Ferry companies threaten shutdown”

  1. i say let them strike. if a business cannot find a way to make money on that monopolized route (WITH SUBSIDIES FROM THE GOVERNMENT NO LESS!) then they deserve to be let go.
    lets use that $ that the government donates to the companies and purchase a new boat(s) – boats that are efficient and don’t need constant maintenance as all of the current Varlack and Transportation Services boats require. as an added benefit all their broken-down boats would no longer be constantly on the VIPA dock getting maintenance done on them! and then perhaps we could use that dock for something more productive.
    wait, all this would make sense, and we all know that nothing gets done down here that makes sense.

  2. Matt, you are so cruel. Afterall AMTRAK gets governement subsidies. But on the other hand I agree with you.
    So they didn’t open their books for an audit? Wonder why? Lots of cash passes through that window. Maybe they run it like a hair salon.

  3. I am sure by the ferries all are being benifited including government by the way of tax. Not sure why such talks takes place inspite of getting good revenue, may be the government policy.

  4. The Government gets revenue in the shape of tax from ferrys, and ferry travel is quite comfortable for passengers. Europe is very popular even with ferry tourism. The government should encourage for such developments actually instead of breaking such.

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