• As the Port Operations Manager for the Port of Valdez, I spend most of my time at an office located just a short walk from the Valdez Ferry Terminal. I can tell you, especially in the summer, a large portion of my time is spent fielding questions regarding the ferry service, schedule, vehicle restrictions, and ticket pricing and availability. Because I so value the ferry service connecting Valdez to Whittier and Cordova, I always take the time to work with these individuals. I see a great loss of potential revenue for AMHS in the number of people that come to my office. Despite the age of technology we live in, many travelers to not get cell service throughout Alaska , or have trouble finding wifi hotspots to do the research and make necessary reservations. In marketing a product, especially in regards to transportation, I see predictability/availability of service as the key ingredient for success. The funding situation has made it clear that further staffing at the ferry terminal is not an option. One possible solution would be to install touch screen reservation and ticketing kiosks in a weather proof entry room of understaffed terminals. This would allow visitors to view the sailing schedules, make reservations, and even provide payment via credit card - rather than being turned away to find a computer at the local library or elsewhere, often causing them to turn to another form of transportation.

    From a personal standpoint, the cost of ferry service is much to high for my family to justify traveling to Anchorage via Whittier. Instead, we take the drive, despite the fact that we would rather take the ferry. My input regarding cost is brief and simple - I realize you have heard this one ;-)

    I was extremely interested and impressed by the AMHS Reform presentation given in Valdez yesterday and look forward to collaborating with you as this process moves forward. There is a viable solution and we are rapidly moving towards it.

  • Open the bars on the ferry - manage them better (no keg beer): prove that the State of Alaska doesn't lose money in one of the most profitable businesses in the country.
    Lease the gift shops for a flat fee to someone with experience and drive to make money (not sit and knit or read behind the counter).
    Listen to what the customer wants instead of what some shore-side government worker who never rides the ferries THINKS would be good for the system.
    And lastly: quit sinking money into the Columbia unless you intend to use it for legislative housing. The ship loves the dock - she doesn't have a record of running without break downs and bent shafts. Sell the lemon!

  • AMHS is losing revenue with the higher prices now in place. Our loyal and avid customers have now come to the point where they are saying enough is enough. I hear them loud and clear and so should you. They complain with statements, “we love the ferries and want to use them, but the cost is driving us away as it is cheaper to fly and rent a vehicle”.
    Our ferries benefit all Alaskans and ALL Alaskans need to support this vital service. Be it land endowments, gas tax or road toll. Road toll's are used throughout the lower states to pay for bridge's, road constructions and needed improvements. This needs to be apply to state ferries
    AMHS needs to service ports in Alaska first and foremost. Let Canadian ferries transit to Ketchikan. US and Canadian custom agents could switch rolls.
    Roll back your prices to the 2013 level. Bring back the bar’s and gift shop’s keep your customers happy.

  • essential service- Need to get creative. Example- for a port as Chenega bay- use a demand of service with a minimum threshold level. You have reservations to pick up at that port. amount of persons is only 3. Minimum threshold for vessel to go that day to that port is 10. Vessel would not go to that port. Ports that are considerably off of the regular route would have an even higher threshold level (Pelican). Using this type of example you would need to publicize heavily, have community discussions,and post it highly on reservation website.

  • efficiency of system- have vessels slow down and operate at cruising speed. Design route schedule to accommodate that. A vessel operating at its maximum hull speed will burn a lot of fuel to just get a few more knots. LeConte Aurora example in general will burn 2k gallons a day to operate for 18 hours at 15 knots. Cut speed to 12 knots fuel savings is 600-800 a day. Impact to schedule is null because arrival and departure port for the voyage of the day is the same. The voyage just ends up being longer duration which would help with crew rest periods.
    Same concept could apply all other routes with better route planning and shorter lay periods in Ketchikan or Juneau.

  • Budget- Use a five year funding approval for general operating fund. Divide budget into sections by ship and shore side department. Have each vessel and department develop and manage their own yearly budget. Key item is to get personnel (end user of products purchased) who spend the funds involved in the management of those funds.

  • Generate more revenue- Lower walk-on passenger prices to less then half of what it costs to fly with a three week advance reservation. Car decks are full but passenger areas are at most 50%. A walk on passenger does not cost the state much at all. Wastewater argument is null because most of wastewater is generated by galley with little impact from amount of passengers.

  • Raise the marine fuel tax a few percent to help fund the Marine Highway.

    Increase the run times between ports to slow the vessels down and save on fuel consumption.

  • Please make a regular schedule we can depend on so we know when to expect the ferry to be running at any time of the year. When you consistently make the schedule inconsistent and threaten to take the ferry away and then its running and then its not... we don't know what to expect.

    Find other places in DOT to cut. The state is spending millions on our airport and tens of thousands on river name signs we don't need.. and then there's been a survey crew survey the same stretch of road for months here. We already aren't getting our road tot he Million Dollar Bridge fixed.. so therefore it isn't getting maintained... so there's money there. How may other places are getting NEW roads and repaired roads? This is our road!! We pay taxes too!!!

    Stop threatening to take away our ferry and make it consistent. It doesn't need to run seven days a week... or 5 days a week... mayeb it can spend a night in Whittier once or twice a week if tha tmakes sense...and only needs to go to VDZ once every 2 weeks(they have a road). It doesn't need to go to Chenega or Tatitlek just because... except maybe once a month if they have a truck to bring in.

    thanks for allowing feedback.

  • I like the idea of a public corporation with a board of directors to run the AMHS. Rates can be adjusted to raise more revenue for the fast ferries, and on non-essential run segments like between Valdez and Whittier which is mostly booked by tourists. Tourists seem to be more than willing to pay higher per mile rates from Bellingham northward, why not apply a higher rate between Whittier and Valdez. I'd like to see more direct sailings between Valdez and Cordova. Personally, i'm willingg to pay 1.5 to 2x as much for the current rate, particularly if the driver goes free with his vehicle. This discount resulted in a lot more bookings on the Chenega and Aurora ships a few years ago.
    A public corporation is less influenced by the legislature and can publish a schedule and stick to it for at least a year in advancc. A senior discount should be retained and you should consider a senior discount on passenger cars and pickups as well. Thanks for allowing the input.