Pay the ferryman, if you can get on board

Conflicting claims coming from residents and government on ferry issues

Josh Pennell
Published on August 16, 2014
The provincial ferry  Capt. Earl W. Winsor. — Telegram file photo

There appears to be a difference of opinion Friday regarding schedule changes made to the Change Islands and Fogo Island ferries service.

Caroln Parsons raised issues earlier this week about the level of service she and other travellers received on the route.

On Friday, The Telegram was still receiving emails from Parsons who had first raised the issue of the ferry issues with the media.

“No noticeable change with ferry,” Parsons wrote on Friday morning, mentioning that a 6:30 p.m. scheduled ferry the night before (Thursday) simply didn’t happen and people looking to get to Change Islands had to wait more than an hour for the next ferry to depart.

“We have no idea why,” she added.

This is in contrast to an email received from the Department of Transportation adressing her concerns.

During the past week, changes were done to “better accommodate increased traffic volumes, create a better flow, accommodate oversize traffic, and to address community needs,” an email from the Department of Transportation and works said Friday.

The department responded to the concerns of residents raised in The Telegram earlier in the week.

Frustrations expressed

Among those were frustrations over last minute changes being made to ferry schedules and also changes — last minute or otherwise — not being posted to the government website or reported on the information telephone recording.

Transportation and Works went on to say that changes to the ferry schedule were made through

consultations with the ferry captains, marine branch at Transportation and Works and the communities.

Traffic demand increased last weekend during a folk festival on Fogo Island. While the department declared those demands were met, they admitted that communications did not keep up with letting the public know of necessary scheduling changes via the website or information line.

“We acknowledge this and have taken the appropriate action,” the email reads.

“There was a delay in our public communications during these schedule changes earlier in the week due to tape updates and our website not being current.”

The email from the department claims this issue has been corrected. However, if it has been completely corrected it must be an extremely recent event.

“Communication timeliness remains a key focus area of the Department of Transportation and Works and, in particular, the Marine Transportation division, where the travelling public and communities depend on schedule information to assist in their daily planning and facilitate the movement of people, goods and services,’’ the email said.