I feel lowering prices and using social media for free advertising to increase ridership would help.Submitted: March 12, 2019
Some young people on POW and are willing to contribute their pin up with clothing portraits posing on the ferries, including POW inter-island ferry towards making a promotional calendar for the ferries. If every photo included the spectacular scenery of remote ports, coupled with a list of local needs for service, these might sell well to tourists. We certainly have some good looking youth in Alaska who want to stay in their home communities, but this requires transportation of goods and travel, esp for childbirth, work related medical care etc. when the planes can't fly.Submitted: March 09, 2019
Renew the fleet with standardized ships and allow operations to be guided by personnel with expertise in the maritime industry, uninhibited by political dictates and pressure.
A great deal of our costs and problems now stem from an aging fleet subject to very costly repairs and upgrades. If new ships are introduced into service, reliability and efficiency would increase 100 fold. With Federal funding assistance Alaska could revive AMHS and provide service for the next 50 years with new ships that could operate far more efficiently than our aging fleet.
Standardized ships would prove extremely efficient and cost effective in both the construction phase (one design for several ships), standardized maintenance system (parts and systems all the same throughout the fleet) and operationally efficient since each ship could be assigned to any route and port in the system, excluding SW and the Aleutian Chain where an elevator system is necessary.
Submitted: March 03, 2019
The FB site presenting the ferry services completely neglects to note the importance of the Prince Rupert to Ketchikan route. The Prince Rupert connection allows countless Alaskans who are First Nations/Native Alaskans, namely Haida, Tsimshian, and Tlingit, to travel from Haida Gwaii to connect on a regular basis with family on POW, Met and Ketchikan area. It is also the Gateway to Alaska for tourists bringing up motor homes and campers who are Americans from the lower 48 and Canadians, all adding directly to local economics. Schools and sporting events depend upon this international route - as in the annual All Native Basketball Tournament and various recreational activities to Canadian activities. For over 50 years Alaskan families who cannot afford to visit relatives or ship supplies by a monopoly airline, have made use of the Prince Rupert to Ketchikan route, driving all the way down to the other border. The Prince Rupert to KTN route is the Other Alaskan Highway. The one I drive every day doesn't even connect to the part of Alaska where my property and home is in southeast AK. Maybe it is time to give POW back to Canada and let BC provide full transportation as they have recently been increasing their ferry service to remote coastal communities. Operations: sorry but discontinue free and reduced rides for family member; Consider what is feasible to apply from BC Ferries to AK Marine H; Funding: Congress to be lobbied for increased Federal Highway funds, and more focus on tourism as a healthier alternative for the environment than the big cruise ships (which should be banned not increased).Submitted: March 03, 2019
The Tustumena and the Kennecott are the ferries that serve our community. We are a small coastal community much like those in South East Alaska and we are totally dependent on the Ferry for transportation of vehicles, equipment, and large supplies. It is our lifeline to the mainland.
I have been traveling this highway for over 30 years. The employees of the AKMHS are an untapped resource of ideas regarding improvements to the system. Those who rely on this system for their livelihood have many ideas of what could be improved or cut. I think they should be polled and asked the same questions and more. Essential service is providing an adequate schedule for those communities who have no paved highway. Lets make sure our ferries are full each time they arrive in our communities. That may mean a reduction is schedule, but it would mean full vessels.Submitted: March 01, 2019
I love the Alaska ferry system.Especially the Tustumena! She sailed into our area for a reason, to provide essential services and connect the roadless villages that are the true heart of Alaska. No reform or so-called privatization needed, keep as it is. Fund it! Now! Its vital to the well being, and economy of all all Alaska! I have ridden the Tustumena since she first sailed into port. It is criminal to even consider defunding this beautiful ship and her dedicated crew for some stupid budget cut. Why not just cut p up the highways as well? Or privatize them too? Ridiculous! These are ROADS you are talking about!Submitted: February 28, 2019
Loose the ferry service? How on earth can that even be an option? For people who live on the "milk run" along the Aleutian chain, not being able to rely on the ferry for transportation part of the year is going to be catastrophic. Please find a way to keep these vital ferries going... please.Submitted: February 25, 2019
The crews that operate AMHS ships are becoming extremely demoralized. Merchant mariners are in short supply world wide. American sailors are highly sought after. If you lose these people, you will never get them back, somehow they need to be reassured that they will continue to have their jobs . Time is of the essence to do this!Submitted: February 17, 2019
I am a commuter who works in Valdez and lives in Anchorage. there are many others like myself in Valdez. My schedule has me starting work Tuesday at 5:30am (5:30 pm Tuesday for night shift) and getting off after a week or two of work on Monday at 5:30pm (5:30am Tuesday for night shift). Why doesn't the ferry cater to shift workers in Valdez? why are the ferry dates set for the days they are? To fly to Valdez it costs on average $184-$124, to drive it is maybe $60 in gas and the painful 5+ hour drive. The ferry has the ability to cater to commuters and fails admirably.
Things to correct to cater to Valdez Marine Terminal shift workers.
Valdez to Whittier: Leave earlier, leave on Wednesday. By the normal departure of 11 am I would already be back in anchorage. Try leaving around 7-8am on a Wednesday, Valdez-Whittier. This departure time would allow even the night shift to catch the ferry.
Whittier to Valdez: Leave later, leave on Monday. Leaving around 1-2pm would give me more time in Anchorage with family, making me want to take the ferry.
Important: cater to shift workers, have a discounted commuter price for those who take the ferry system X amount of times per year or more. I drive back and forth on average every other week as i work a 2&2, other people work a 1&1 schedule or a mix. This means a commuter could potentially ride the ferry 28-56 times a year (one way)! if you had even 20 dedicated commuters (more than that work here at the VMT) you would have 560-1,120 additional riders annually ($112,000 - $224,000 @$200 a ride, as my coworker said $200's not bad). As of now I can guarantee you 0% of Valdez commuters are using the ferry system due to the days you travel.
At $200 I would use the ferry system roughly 40% of the time.
at $150 I would use the ferry system %80 of the time, which is my personal max. As at times I stay in Valdez for OT or fishing if the weather is nice August.
Submitted: February 07, 2019
First & foremost, there needs to a dedication to customer service on the part of Alaska State Goverrnment & Ferry Management. My experiences with dozens of the actual service providers was excellent, they seem committed to customer service. Telephone information & reservatons, Depot office workers & ticketing agents, ticket takers, luggage handlers, passneger & vehicle loading & offloading, on board crew & services, all of these were excellent.
However, it was readily apparent that State Government & Managers, including fiscal decision-makers in the State Legislaure & Governor's Office, have woefully failed to provide AMHS & its dedicated staff with adequate resources to provide safe, reliable & enjoyable services. This failure can only be rectified with additional funding for capital & operating expenses.
1. Existing ferries, particularly the original 1960s-70s ships, must be replaced or completely refurbished, preferably meeting the standards of today's modern "Fast ferries." There must also be a sufficient number of vessles so that if one must go out of service for days or weeks, another is readily available to fill in as necessary. Airlines do this, railroads do this, other ferry lines do this, AMHS can do this!
Reliability & dependability mus be a priority!
2. Given the tremendous amount of sales, hotel stays, income (both personal & business), & derivative revenues that are generated by AMHS & its passengers, a significant portion of all such revenues should be dedicated to AMHS, including hotel taxes, sales taxes, etc. In addition, to the extent that oil & petroleum based royalties & revenues are used to support State & local government, a percentage of these should also be dedicated to AMHS.
3. Reinstate the evening lounges on multi-day routes. These would provide an entertainment & socialization venue while providing an additional revenue source for AMHS.
4. All dock & mooring facilities available to cruise ships should be available to AMHS at no or low cost. The coastal waters & tidelands are historically public assets owned & controlled by the states; they should not be used as private fiefdoms to the exclusion of AMHS.
As but one example, AMHS customers disembarking at Juneau or Ketchikan should not be left 13 or 3 miles from those cities while cruise ships dock at the city centers. Furthermore, if there are AMHS operational reasons for disembarking away from town, then AMHS should bear some responsibility for the safety of its customers, by arranging for some transportation to town other than a $30 taxi ride each way.
5. Consider partnering with the local governments, private businesses, & the Alaska Railroad, selling trip packages that encompass both the Marine Highway & the Railroad.
In short, AMHS is a wonderful public asset that the State should whole-heartedly recognize, embrace, encourage, expand & support in every possible way.Submitted: September 22, 2018