Steamship Authority Provides Update Amid Pandemic

Steamship Authority photo:

HYANNIS – Though the Steamship Authority has not been directly affected by Governor Charlie Baker’s new travel restrictions, they are keeping passengers up to date on the order.

“Are role has really be one of education,” said Communications Director Sean Driscoll.  

“We have put up signage in our mainland terminals letting people who are going to the islands know that they need to investigate that order to see if it applies to them.”

The Authority is sending out alerts to people who are booking with them two days before they travel to make them aware of the restrictions.

They are also sending out an alert at the start of every month regarding the travel restrictions to every passenger that will be traveling that month.

According to Driscoll, the Authority is not involved in the collection or checking of the new Massachusetts travel form.

“We are not really involved in the collection of that or the enforcement that,” he said.

“A lot of people have been wondering if we are checking people at the check in booth to see if they have followed that order and that’s not our role and that’s not how it was set up to be but we are doing everything we can to let people know about it.”

The Authority continues to have health safety precautions in place on their boats and in the terminals.

Driscoll said that, generally speaking, the majority of people have been handling them well.

“Generally speaking, the vast majority of the people are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing,” Driscoll said.  

“You will always have the outliers, our crews are doing a great job of making sure people are wearing face coverings when they are on the buses and when they are on the boats.”

Along with face cover requirements and enforcing social distancing, the Authority has been constantly sanitizing their facilities and boats.

An amendment added to the final version of the state’s supplemental budget bill last month addressed the financial viability of the Authority.

The legislation removes liability from the port communities for any revenue shortfalls the Steamship Authority has incurred from the pandemic.

“This is really great news for us and our port communities because they have all been dealing with their own revenue shortfalls and the last thing they need is to have to split a
$25 million bill between the five of them come the end of the year,” said Driscoll.

“It’s really a recognition of our unique position, we are a public transit agency that doesn’t take any public funding.”

Driscoll said that currently the SSA is continuing to take the pandemic one day at a time moving forward.

Recently they just extended their schedule to go through Labor Day, but future extensions will be based on demand.

“It really depends on the demand and what happens after Labor Day,” Driscoll said.  

“School starting late could create more demand, but if cases continue to creep up that could make less demand.”

For more information on the Steamship Authority, click here.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the CapeCod.com News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.



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