Cape Lawmakers Call for Improvements and Transparency at Steamship Authority

Steamship Authority photo

MASHPEE – Following several mechanical malfunctions and hundreds of cancelled trips between the Cape and Islands, local lawmakers are looking for answers from the Steamship Authority.

Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr and Barnstable/Dukes/Nantucket State Representative Dylan Fernandes have written a joint letter to Steamship Authority General Manager Robert Davis calling for action to resolve the issues which have led to growing frustrations amongst travelers.

Throughout this spring and as recently as this month, the SSA had major problems with the M/V Woods Hole, the M/V Katama, and M/V Martha’s Vineyard, with each being out of service at times.

Cyr and Fernandes say that those who live on Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard have an inherent right ferry service.

“Islanders have a right to dependable transportation on and off island, for access to work, healthcare, and myriad other needs (sic)” they wrote.”

The letter cites issues with equipment, communication, and planning stating that the issues a “looking less like an isolated problem, which is extremely troubling.”

Within the letter, Cyr and Fernandes call on Davis to take swift action, “strongly urging” that the Steamship Authority hire an outside consultant to conduct a comprehensive review of the boat maintenance and operational systems and programs.

They recommend that the company share contingency plans with the public in the event of another mechanical or operational failure. The officials want the Authority to hire a full-time communications manager to improve transparency and community engagement – and, presumably, be on hand to address the concerns of local public officials.

Finally, both Cyr and Fernandes would like to see Davis hold a hearing on Martha’s Vineyard to listen and respond to the concerns of residents.

The correspondence concludes, “The time has come for more systemic action to restore public confidence in your organization.”


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