June 25, 2015 (Transportation Task Force)

Transportation Task Force
Workshop on Ferry Service
June 25, 2015
Held at the Community Center on GCI at 9:00 A.M.

o Meeting called to order at 9:00 A.M. (Community Center/Ladies Aid, Great Cranberry): The Forum was attended by residents and Transportation Task Force members.
o Ron Axelrod read the agenda, introduced Task Force members, and explained the purpose of the workshop. The purpose is to get initial feedback from the community on the work of the Transportation Task Force so far. They will review the survey results (from 2014), review the service models developed by the Task Force, Outline next steps.
o Mission Statement: “The mission of the Transportation Task Force is to improve the quality of water transportation service by identifying the needs of the people of the Town of Cranberry Isles and by developing a plan to provide for these needs, with the goal of presenting a proposal for service to the Municipal Advisory Committee by the end of October 2015.”
o Skip Stevens reviewed the results of the survey that was conducted last summer. The survey consisted of a number of short specific questions and allowed for written comments on people experiences with the ferry services and comments on their concerns and issues that need to be addressed. (2014); the survey had 150 responses that were collated and analyzed by the Transportation Task Force. The work of the Task Force since then has been to develop a set of ferry service models that would best meet the needs of the Town, based on the survey responses, and problems and strengths identified in the survey:
o Analyzed Short Answer Responses in the Survey
o Analyzed Written comments in the Survey
o The Task Force analyzed the survey results and written comments by survey participants, to understand what is that the Town most needs and what does the survey tell us about that
o What is that people are telling us they want; what are the major issues and concerns relating to ferry service
o The analysis ranked the issues and concerns related in the survey and then follow-up with an analysis about what the answers to the specific survey questions tell us about that particular issue and what we needed to do in planning for a ferry service.
o Issues and concerns raised in the survey comments and what the answers to the specific questions tell us about the specific issue; these are ranked in order based on the survey responses: 5 Most Important Issues
Ticket Pricing
Customer Service
Reliability
Scheduling
Freight Handling
Other Issues Mentioned in the survey:
Price Equity
Condition of Boat
Safety
Role of the Town in Ferry Service Operations
School Trans
Signage (Publicity, communication with Town)
Sutton island Service
Other Issues mentioned in one or two survey comments
All ferry operations ranked below 3 out 5. 85% of respondents supported a one-way ticket price of $7 or less; 73% supported it also for seasonal residents.
Audience Comments:
We already have one of the lowest ticket prices around.
No necessarily true, Casco Bay Lines for example has a multi-tiered rate structure that actually has lower fare prices for residents and commuters then our ferries do
All of our ferry services have been providing a great service at a reasonable price for a number of years.
Wasn’t there more concern about the unequal pricing for year-round residents vs. seasonal residents?
The Task Force should consider the possibility of allowing children/students under 18 be allowed to use the ferry for free
Suggested the slightly lower rate for year-round residents on Cranberry Cove is due to year-round residents tend to travel back and forth more, while summer residents tend to stay on the island and leave les frequently; at least that is the typical pattern that we see
How much do the non-resident “day-tips” fares subsidies the commuter tickets?
The survey comments mention this; the high cost of coming here for the day might become (already is?) to expensive and could hurt the island economy
We don’t have information on how much the day-trip users subsidize the regular commuter users
Charlie Norris: This is addressed in the ferry models developed by the Task Force. The 2 or 3 month summer season really supports and subsidizes the other 9 months when ridership is much lower and profits are often non-existent for the ferry operators. Completion between the various passenger boat and ferry operations is also helping to keep fares low during the summer months. Affordability is also helped with cross-subsidy; the larger volume during the summer cross-subsidizes the other periods of the year. How can this be worked into an efficient system that will also keep fares as low as possible and reasonable
Families often can’t afford to come out to Cranberry Isles
The Task Force needs to look at the subtleties of the various groups of users in determining what a fair tickets price might be
o Ferry Service Models (Charlie Norris, water transportation consultant):
Ferry Operation Short List Alternatives Summary Description, dated 06 22 15
Some of the feedback today may cause the Task Force to modify some of the alternatives. The models will be refined based on the feedback at this workshop
Looked at 3 comparative models: Isle Au Haut, Chabeague and Casco Bay
Isle Au Haut converted from a for profit passenger and mail boat service to a non-profit service (501-C3). Chabeague Island Ferry Company did the same thing more recently. These are both separate non-profit corporations not governed by the Town.
How these non-profit ferries operate can be found on the Maine D.O.T. Locally Coordinated Transit Plan website. The website provides a description, service route, management plan, financials and annual report of locally operated transit services. The website is helpful in understanding how these are managed. All of this is public information