Ferry fare hike frozen

Cruz_bay_ferry_dock_4 The VI Public Service Commission agreed to postpone a 40% hike in the Red Hook/St. John ferry fare for 60 days.  The increase, from $5 to $7 each way, was to go into effect May 1.

The PSC convened a public hearing at the legislature building on St.
John to hear complaints about its decision to approve a fare increase.  St. John’s Unity Day Group filed a formal request for
reconsideration.

About 70 people attended the hearing at the Legislature building. Unity Day Group argued the ferry companies’ financial justification for the increase included some odd ‘business’ expenses.

The St. John Source quoted Sharon Coldren, a Group member, saying “I see $1 million in unpaid gross receipts taxes … I see loans to officers.  I see a time-share condo mentioned.”

The Commission agreed to reopen the fare hike request process which will lead to at least one more public hearing and allow for public comment.

The Commission will again try to figure out the true financial condition of the ferry companies.  Both Varlack Ventures and Transportation Services perennially plead losses and poverty, but few people have seen proof this is so.

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