More operating revenue: frequent floater nautical miles program, structure rates like airlines do with discounts for scheduling ahead and premiums paid for last minute service, institute Alaska rates or even community rates for those who reside in one of the 2 communities that they are ferrying between (idea is to garner more from the tourists), institute commercial rates for car deck space that businesses eat up with vans and heavy equipment
Sustainable public funding: legislators (and people) from places not directly served by the AMHS need to be made aware of the economic activity in their cities directly related to AMHS ridership - i.e. money spent in Anchorage, KPB & MSB by Cordovans and others coming in to shop, attend kids sporting events, seek entertainment and the commerce directly brought into their cities - businesses loading up on freight and fish being trucked in to be processed
Operating efficiencies: might be gained from analysis of the unions that represent most of the AMHS employees - they need to be well-trained and fairly compensated but presently some of the perks/per diem expenditures might be excessive and could be pared down, not wanting to turn against other communities, but in dire circumstances, if schedules need to be streamlined, connector service between 2 cities with highway (road) access need to be the first such routes cut out or greatly diminished – not service to landlocked communities that rely on the marine highway for transportation
Essential service: as stated above, essential service is to the communities that do not otherwise have road access to the rest of Alaska – these cities will lose population and could even go away without the AMHS, that is essential – cities with road access need to spend time/effort developing economic activity related to that road, not so dependent on AMHS
Submitted: July 12, 2017
Hello, I just left the meeting in Cordova and thought it was informative and lively. I did get to express my thoughts and concerns but for every one I made, another popped into my head. One thing I did mention was pricing. I am an avid golfer and noticed the courses I normally play were more and more empty. It seemed for every dollar added to the price, a golfer would drop one or two days out of their schedule. I noticed the same thing with the ferry, people who used to go to Whittier (always Whittier) 5 times a year were staying home as the prices hiked. That in itself is a double edge sword because the savings in groceries hauled from Anchorage is staggering. Pricewise it may seem too extreme a reaction but we in Cordova are nickel and dimed ad nauseum. For my business, the loss of the fast ferry is amazing. I probably lost 30% of my revenue. I understand things change and I'm not lamenting. Ever the changing world right? I'm just letting you all know the impact to me personally. If I heard you right, you're looking for imput. Fast in the summer if possible.
One thing I have a problem with, and this flies in the face of my concern for the local ferry workers, is the price that is paid for wages and benefits. This is a bone of contention for me. Starting from our local city workers all the way on up to nationally, I think we taxpayers are too generous. That being said, is this an area that can be massaged or am I wrong?
I think some people in the crowd had a great idea of maneuvering the schedules of the train and possible buses to coincide with the ferry. Walk ons may increase. Or car rental businesses in Whittier? Uber? Maybe not in your wheelhouse... Our communities could get involved with ride sharing.
The task ahead of you is daunting. I'm open minded and hopeful. But, I also have a healthy skepticism and really do not like it when "people" will try anything with the thought of we've got to do something. That being said, good luck and I'll see you all on the next go around.Submitted: July 11, 2017
I am a 40 year resident and frequent ferry user. I travel about once a month and need the year round reliability and safety of the ferry. I own 2 businesses and have raised 2 children in Gustavus. They are also heavy ferry users.
For me, I would define essential service for Haines as a minimum of 2 ferries a week year round. This is something one can plan around and, although it doesn't address emergency needs, that is not really what the ferry system is for anyway.
Thank you for your considerationSubmitted: June 23, 2017
I believe the Alaska Ferry has great value to a wide variety of people, whether it be the businesses that enjoy support from the passengers along the journey, or just the experience that people get from sailing the route. The ferry provides a unique experience to people unavailable anywhere else, as well as offers an affordable way for people to travel to Alaska. As a lifelong Bellingham resident, I'm proud to say that the ferry leaves from my town. Thanks for supporting the Alaska Ferry.Submitted: June 19, 2017
The ferry system is absolutely crucial to me for a number of reasons. Without it, I would not be able to access more populated areas of Alaska, such as anchorage, without flying there. I always need my vehicle when I travel to places such as anchorage. I go there to purchase groceries, see my doctor, etc. Also, I have dogs that are not allowed to fly on any airline. Having the ferry system as an option to drive them to the vet in an emergency is absolutely invaluable. I do not know what I would do without a ferry service from Cordova. I would probably be forced to move away from my home.Submitted: June 14, 2017
Of all the concepts and ideas discussed to increase the efficiency of AMHS operations, I believe schedule and service should be addressed in more detail than I have seen thus far. To put it simply, I believe service and schedule should directly reflect use and need. To operate on a rigid, fixed schedule with no regard to historic traffic patterns is not very efficient from an operational perspective. I am aware that the ships and the service they provide are a "political football" and subject to the intense lobbying of each community connected to the system, but it is time to apply traffic numbers to the scheduling of the ships. All too often I see ships operating in winter months on schedules that vary little from the summer months, but with half (or less) the traffic. I think there should be an effort to maximize the loads of each ship by adjusting the operating schedules to reflect historically recorded usage.Submitted: June 11, 2017
The ferry is vital to the coastal communities in many ways from the movement of goods to the movement of people. It is as important as the Alaska Highway!Submitted: June 09, 2017
How is it the state puts management in place that has no experience in marine transportation. The Coast Guard does not provide transportation to the traveling public. Please find management (Engineering, general, etc.) that comes from the private sector.Submitted: June 08, 2017
My Family and I always rely on Ferry Transportation before anything else. We are constantly needing to bring Vehicles with us whenever we travel and that is a minimum of ten times a year. Most years it is more than that as we have many family gatherings that we attend in Juneau, Metlakatla, Sitka and Wrangell. I don't think that we would be able to travel as much as we do without the Ferry System. If I could track the miles that I have traveled via Ferry the way we track them with Alaska Airlines I can guarantee they would be more than ten times as much.Submitted: June 07, 2017
Having affordable travel in southeast Alaska is important to my whole family because of the family and cultural ties I have in each community. My daughter and her three sons live in Kake.
My grandson are co-parented in Sitka and Kake. The summer ferry schedule does not allow for direct travel to Kake from Sitka. The grandsons will miss out for the second summer in a row the "Best Culture Camp in SE" (USFS) that has been in operation for 30 years.
Sitka has been cutoff from all nearby communities for years. We can not travel directly to Angoon or Hoonah. Limited access to and from these communities cut cultural ties all year round.
Traveling to Juneau is now limited. I think that having the limited travel in and out of Juneau means Juneau will have limited the industrial appeal for any more companies like Kmart, Walmart or any other business to think about starting a business that draws more southeast travelers in and out of Juneau which will diminish the southeast Alaska economy more. There will be no jobs developed and nobody spending money because the Alaska Marine Highway has cut off the roads that connect us.
Please reconsider the ferry travel schedule to all communities as the main economic vein of our southeast communities. It is the historic and traditional way of our society.Submitted: June 07, 2017