• I am against spinning off AMHS into a state-owned corporation. The root of the problem is that the Legislature is under-funding this vital service. The ferry is a lifeline for Southeast. It is infrastructure. We don't ask our state roads to turn a profit; to ask that of the AMHS is unfair and unrealistic.

  • - I'm really concerned that you believe that the AMHS can run with fewer employees. Maybe in the office - but on the ships? I would think that you are required to have a certain number of crew members to maintain safety for the passengers.
    - To answer your question about generating revenue....bring back the bars. What were you thinking eliminating the bars? They MAKE money for crying out loud. Now you want to eliminate the food service too? Another way to make money. Oh, wait those are wages you have to pay...oh wait...those are crew members trained in passenger safety that you are required by law to have.
    - I also fear that you are pricing ferry travel out for communities. It's already hardly affordable to take the ferry to Bellingham - with a new plan to create 'shorter runs'. How will people afford to travel to Bellingham from Haines. A ferry to Juneau (then a hotel) a ferry to Ketchikan (then a hotel for several nights) then a ferry to Bellingham. Yikes. Who would do that? Might as well drive to Seattle.
    - We had better ferry service in the 1960's long before there was "oil in them thar hills"
    - The AMHS is a road. Yes, we should pay something to use them, but then maybe the state should also start collecting money from 'tolls' on mainland highways too.
    - I don't hear the state using the Inter-Island Ferry Authority as an example of how great private ferry service can be. Is it because it's NOT?

  • I believe schedule and service could be streamlined.
    Review load capacity data to a) thin routes/times of year that consistently operate at low capacity b) pad routes/times of year with high capacity ratings.
    If the state does not have the time/resources to crunch the data there are several private Alaskan owned business that can provide historical and predictive models based on the data.

    I would also like to echo sentiments of several fellow 'commentors' by reminding the government that the ferry is vital to the SE community, was never intended to be for-profit and should be funded like the vital service it is. I pay for improvements to Anchorages traffic problem, Anchorage can support the Southeasts traffic problem.

  • I strongly support creating a public corporation to represent and manage the Alaska Marine Ferry System.
    I am a lifelong SE resident and have used the ferry system extensively to travel between communities for work and to access remote property that I own.
    I do not feel that the current government is working towards my best interest with the ferry system and I think a smaller public corporation would be more nimble and connected to the people.
    The ferry system increases land sale values in SE (for properties on or near the ferry system), carries SE Alaskan into the interior for work, school, etc. where they spend money and help drive the economy, and is woven into the fabric of this state.

    How can Alaska provide a more predictable and sustainable flow of necessary public funding to support the AMHS?
    Fund a year in advance

    In planning for the long-term sustainability of AMHS, how do we define “essential service” for the widely varying needs of the 33 communities served directly by the system?
    Give precedence to communities with year round residence, they have demonstrated intention and should be taken seriously.

  • Thank you for doing the important work of charting the future of AMHS. I would like to know more specifically what the impact of 350 service weeks versus the minimal plan would be. As a Sitkan, I would like to see twice weekly round-trip service to Juneau.

  • I am against getting rid of the ferries Columbia and Kennicott. These two ferries fulfill a very important route and run at or near full capacity. Because they have long runs between ports they become more economical to run.They most likely are the most lucrative routes in the AMHS system.To consistently turn a profit on a particular route should be foremost in consideration, not just because these two ships have a larger crew that they should be cut.

  • Though increased fares and freight charges can never fully make up the opex deficit, every bit can help and I believe most people would accept an increase in fares to help maintain essential ferry service. I certainly would.

    To this point, I would define "essential service" as one round trip ferry per week from the town/city/village in question to their primary port of interest. For example from Hoonah's perspective this would be one ferry to and from Juneau, per week.
    I believe some communities could be satisfied by even less service, such as one round trip every other week.

    In general I think most people who live in small communities will be willing to put up with a lot to keep our ferry. Whatever cuts in services or increases in price are needed.

    I remember what it was like to not have a ferry and being reliant on small planes only. I don't want to go back.

  • The ferry system is essential to the transportation in and out of Gustavus and our community would greatly suffer without it as would the other communities connected by the Marine Highway. If it would make an impact, please raise the prices. We would use the ferry no matter the cost. It is essential to us rural Alaskans who live in places without medical facilities or roads to reliably be able to get into Juneau for appointments with our cars.

  • Hi,

    My suggestions for amhs are as follow:

    The ferries should line up their schedules so you can make connections on other ships. If the IFA gets in at 1115am into Ketchikan but the Kennicott leaves to head north at 11am you have to go to Ketchikan a day early and spend a lot more money on lodging and meals just to catch the boat. There is no reason why the ferry can't leave just a little later. Also, connections with other amhs ferries. The Leconte leave jnu at 7am, other ferries from south get in right when the Leconte leaves not allowing passengers to make that connection and head to northern ports. Allowing people to get off of one boat and get on another would be helpful. More amenities on the ferries with long runs would be nice also. The Columbia has laundry services, but the Kennicott does not. Some of the passengers are on the boat for as many as 5-7 days and that is a long time. Passengers always ask for internet. Charge people, they will pay. Also, hiking the prices of fares up only makes people go away. If fares are lowered then people will actually want to ride the boats and have a good time rather than fly and putting their cars on the barge. Add a bar on the Bellingham run. Or lease the bar out to a brewery.

  • Kofi is a cafeteria worker on the ferry and deserves special recognition for his helpful ways and good demeanor