Wednesday, May 13, 2015

AMHS to cut sailings in half for Ketchikan to Prince Rupert run this summer

The AMHS Vessel Taku
will be removed from
service through the summer
Over much of the first half of 2015, the Alaska Marine Highway System has been struggling to find a funding formula from the State Government this year to keep the bulk of its schedule intact for the summer.

And while some success has been found from discussions with the state, differing levels of cuts to some runs are still in the works for 2015 and with plans finalized now for the summer season,  Prince Rupert will be one AMHS destination that will be feeling the effects the most during this high traffic and tourism period.

Owing to the withdrawal of service of the AMHS vessel Taku for the summer, the Alaska Marine Highway System has cut the number of runs between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan, reducing sailings from the previous fours trips a week, down to two per week through the summer season.

AMHS officials are currently in the process of contacting those passengers with reservations through the summer to advise them of the situation, something which will have an impact on passenger levels through the Fairview Departure point this summer.

The Taku's absence from the fleet will be in place through July, August and September, with the Ferry Service making use of its downtime to commence with some much delayed overhaul work, returning the Taku to service sometime in October.

The Alaska Government is also serving notice that further changes may be in the way as fall and winter approach, with a review of scheduling and fleet allocation to take place after the summer season.

“While summer service for this year has been essentially restored, travelers and Alaskans must remember that the state is still facing a $4 billion budget deficit. The AMHS schedule for the upcoming winter season and summer 2016 will likely be different than year’s past,” -- Deputy Commissioner Michael Neussl of theAlaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities speaking on the prospect of change to AMHS services this fall

The Prince Rupert Terminal for the
Alaska Marine Highway System
will see reduced sailings this summer
Alaska Public Radio station KCAW provided some background on the impact that the reduction in service will have not only on the connection between Canadian and American communities, but how the reduction in service is going to make for reduced tourism for the Southeast Alaska region.

The Alaska Marine Highway System was in the news locally for much of the end of last year and the early part of 2015, with a number of issues discussed related to their now postponed renovation plans for the AMHS Terminal at Fairview.

You can review those items of the past as well as other items related to the Marine Service between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan from our archive page here.

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