SSA Stages Forum Tonight for Islanders in Oak Bluffs

The Steamship Authority will host a public hearing tonight to discuss a number of key issues surrounding the public boat line that was created 41 years ago to serve the two Islands.

Topics for discussion are expected to include expanded ferry service between New Bedford and the Vineyard, and the impact of capital spending on fares for Island residents in the years ahead.

The hearing begins at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Oak Bluffs School.

There has been growing confusion in recent months around boat line affairs. For the last seven months SSA managers have promoted an ambitious new service model wrapped around a multi-million-dollar plan to increase passenger traffic between New Bedford and the Vineyard.

The financial impact of the model was never fully developed, after the boat line treasurer found that many of the assumptions in the model were flawed.