Ferries throttle back service, after running with few passengers in Southeast - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, August 13, 2020
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Ferries throttle back service, after running with few passengers in Southeast

The Tazlina came into the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal from Skagway with just 2 passengers on one scheduled run during the first week of April. Last week, there were only 12 passengers. It takes a crew of 14-15 to run the Tazlina.

The two ferries that are operational are running nearly empty, prompting the Alaska Marine Highway System to reduce some of its sailings because of the low demand, as people are not traveling due to the COVID-19 coronavirus and travel restrictions.

The Tazlina will consolidate its schedule in Northern Lynn Canal, while the Lituya will have limited service between Ketchikan and Metlakatla.

Updated schedule information is available on the AMHS website.

At least three landing crafts have begun moving freight around northern Southeast Alaska to fill in the gap in recent months: Liteweight, Poundstone, and Claim Jumper. These operators are hauling freight out of the Auke Bay harbor area to smaller communities.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Good. Save wherever we can.

  • Seems like the state should have shut this down a couple weeks ago when they shutdown private industry.

    • Steve,
      AMHS should never have been allowed to morph into the current entity. Sure, the remote communities deserve a link for their needs and wants. But not at the expense of others that don’t use the system. Living in a remote location, inaccessible via highway, is a choice, not a mandate. Along with the isolation comes the extra cost of commuting and shipping. That should be addressed before the decision to move to/live in that isolated location. Subsidizing a losing proposition, like AMTRAK or AMHS benefits a very small percentage of citizens. Shouldn’t be happening. I understand and respect the indigenous peoples’ connection to these remote locations. They got along for centuries without subsidized transport/freight to their communities. Now they have outboard motors so they don’t need to paddle as much.

  • A little slow on the uptake, as always.

    • Not really. They tried.

      • They burned diesel.

  • Now we see that the residents really do not need that much ferry service. Cut it completely and use private industry to replace what we cannot afford. Now is the time.

  • FYI….to all the previous posters….just in case you missed it, the whole state has been “sheltering in place ” since March 28th. The borders are closed to “essential travelers only”. Haines is on the road system, “Highway #7” which goes to Anchorage and Fairbanks and the lower 48 and passes through Canada and the Yukon. It’s no wonder that there aren’t people traveling on the ferries. The airlines out of Juneau (Alaska Air) to Anchorage and Fairbanks and Seattle are nearly empty. All the hotels are vacant. So now ,Mark, Greg, Ben,Jay, Steve, where the Sam hill have you guys been?….. smoking too much Mat-Su Thunder?……or watching too much FOX?…..get real guys. Hey ,I hear the cruise lines are offering 50% off for next season, if you need to get out of town for cheap.!!!

    • Everything you just said is why they should have shut the ferry system down sooner…did you miss that part…kinda the point. The state shutdown the state, except they didn’t shutdown the ferries that nobody was traveling on…and you think we are smoking dope, or that Fox news is to blame…really??

    • How many passengers in the last month compared to miles traveled? Ya never hear those kind of numbers. So if it’s “no wonder” why did the boats keep running?
      It’s widely heard in the ranks that the AMHS administration has i t’s head up it’s exhaust stack.

    • N,
      Your point is somewhat vague. The lack of paying passengers on the ferries happens every year. For about eight months. Every year it’s absurd for the state to be subsidizing the ferries for the tiny percentage of Alaskans that actually make use of them. Actually, it’s absurd to subsidize AMHS, period. The benefit of subsidized freight and passenger service is, no doubt, welcomed by those taking advantage of it. For the rest of Alaskans, the expense is unfair. Private service is available to all the communities served by the ferries, and then some. Those that choose to live there should do like the rest of us. Bear the cost of living in the particular location we choose to live in or move somewhere else.

    • You fund it since you want it. Sounds like your job is in jeopardy or your cheep travel is going down.

  • AMHS is yet another special interest cash sink to be cast aside as quickly as possible.

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