Steamship Authority governors this week approved an operating budget for the coming year that includes slight fare increases for automobiles to and from the Vineyard.
Meeting Tuesday in Woods Hole, the board approved a budget with operating expenses of more than $83 million, a 4.1 per cent increase over estimated total operating costs for 2012.
To cover the cost of service for the coming year, the board approved plans to raise an extra $1.5 million through fare increases, about $500,000 of which will come from the Martha’s Vineyard route and $1 million from the Nantucket route.
Starting next year, automobile rates on the Vineyard route will increase year-round by $1 each way, with round-trip excursion rates increasing by $2.
Annual and seasonal parking permits at the Woods Hole and Falmouth parking lots will increase by $25 starting in May 2013.
Nantucket rates are expected to increase more significantly, with round-trip excursion rates going up by $10, and passenger fares on the high-speed ferry Iyanough going up by $1.50 one-way and $2 round-trip. Rates for commercial vehicles, extended loads, and parking at the Hyannis lots will also increase.
The overall increase for Vineyard rates will be one per cent, Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson said, with Nantucket rates increasing 2.8 per cent. The last fare increase was two years ago for the 2011 season, he said, and Nantucket rates were increased more because they don’t generate as much revenue as the Vineyard routes.
Mr. Lamson said that fuel expenses are expected to increase about eight per cent. According to a staff summary of the proposed budget, the Steamship Authority is expected to need about 2.6 million gallons of vessel fuel at a cost of more than $10.1 million. Health care and maintenance costs are also expected to increase, with vessel and terminal repairs slated for the next year.
In other business Tuesday, Mr. Lamson was authorized to award contracts for several projects, including renovations to the men’s room at the Woods Hole terminal, renovations to the men’s and women’s rest rooms at the Vineyard Haven terminal bathrooms and repairs to the Oak Bluffs terminal pier.