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.