A History Shaped by State Politics

It’s been 65 years since the first Steamship Authority was created, signed into existence by Massachusetts Gov. Robert Bradford in 1948 as the New Bedford, Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority. Regular ferry service had existed prior to that date, beginning in the early 1800s. The arrival of the Old Colony Railroad in the 1870s brought train tracks right to the wharf in Woods Hole, spearheading the growth of both the Island summer tourism industry and the boat lines, which were then privately owned.

Passage to Paradise, Bridge to America; Steamship Sails On

When Allie Joseph was a little girl, she would spot mermaids while on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, insisting to her mother that they were there, in the depths of Vineyard Sound.

On a recent Tuesday Allie, now in college, stood with parents David and Chris and sister Nikki.

Trains, Planes, Automobiles: Summer Transit Options Expand

Expanding transportation services among airlines, ferries, buses and trains have made the Vineyard more accessible than ever this summer.

Four airlines are now operating summer service between the Island and three major metropolitan areas. And two months ago train service began between Boston and the Cape that connects with a shuttle to the Steamship Authority.

Confidence in Steamship Authority Up Significantly

The public’s confidence in the Steamship Authority has improved markedly since 1987, according to polls commissioned 25 years apart by the Vineyard Gazette and conducted by a leading national market research firm.

Man Falls Overboard on Steamship Ferry Trip

A 19-year-old man fell from a Steamship Authority ferry Thursday night into the water off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, according to the Steamship Authority.

Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson said in a statement that Chris Connelly, 19, of Millers Falls, fell backward off the ferry Martha’s Vineyard at about 8:52 p.m. June 20 as the boat was sailing from Oak Bluffs to Woods Hole.

SSA Traffic Down Slightly, Summer Holds Promise

April Steamship Authority traffic was down slightly from the same period last year, though summer numbers are showing improvement.

At the Steamship Authority board of governors meeting Tuesday in Nantucket, general manager Wayne Lamson said April passenger traffic was down 3.3 per cent from April 2012.

SSA Begins to Consider Fleet Replacement, Woods Hole Terminal Overhaul

From new ferries to a terminal overhaul in Woods Hole, the Steamship Authority will be embarking on some major capital planning and spending projects in the coming years.

At the monthly boat line meeting in Hyannis this week, the SSA governors took a look at planning for two major projects: the replacement of aging vessels and reconstruction of the terminal at Woods Hole.

SSA to Repair Storm-Damaged Wharf

The Steamship Authority governors Tuesday authorized $2.5 million in repairs for the Oak Bluffs ferry terminal, which was damaged in Hurricane Sandy.

The main pier section of the Oak Bluffs terminal was damaged by rough seas and high waves during the storm. The storm damage repairs have qualified for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the authority will be reimbursed up to 75 per cent of the cost, Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson said.

SSA Weighs Rate Hike for Autos, Parking

Steamship Authority governors this week announced plans for fare increases on the Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket routes in order to compensate for rising fuel costs and other expenses in next year’s budget.

At the monthly meeting of the boat line governors Tuesday in Nantucket, a preliminary look at next year’s operating budget showed a budget shortfall of $1.5 million, according to a meeting summary.

SSA Expects Big Financial Loss on Schamonchi Ferry Operation

The surprise decision by the Steamship Authority governors last month to buy the New Bedford passenger ferry Schamonchi was pitched as a sound business decision for the public boat line, but an internal financial analysis done by the SSA shows that in fact the ferry is expected to lose large amounts of money.

The boat line board of governors voted last month to buy the Schamonchi for $1.75 million.