Ferry fare hike in the future?

Vice-commiss

PSC Chairman Donald Cole

The agency which regulates St. John ferries is preparing to study whether there should be a fare hike.

The current adult toll, one way, between Red Hook and Cruz Bay, is $6.

The Public Services Commission said this week that at its next meeting it will assign a hearing examiner to study the finances of the two ferry companies, Varlack Ventures and Transportation Services.

That decision followed presentations to the PSC by two consultants who agreed the ferry companies need help.

The PSC's consultant said options were raising fares or providing a government subsidy. The St. John Source quoted Avery Williams, opting for a subsidy. He said, "Most jurisdictions never actually try to recover 100% of their costs through fares … everybody that has tried (to) …has failed."

That was also the preferred choice of the companies' consultant, Malcolm Kirwan. He pointed out the VI government is already is in a mess of financial trouble and relying on a subsidy could be considered be irresponsible and even foolish.

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