Islanders and day trippers alike will spend a little more to travel on the Steamship Authority beginning early next year. And parking in off-site ferry lots in Falmouth will also cost more.

A package of fare hikes was approved by boat line governors at their monthly meeting, held in the Oak Bluffs library on Tuesday morning. The board voted to approve an $89 million operating budget for the coming year, and along with it fare increases to help close a projected $1.9 million revenue shortfall. Total projected operating revenues are about $93 million, an increase of .3 per cent, while projected operating expenses are about $89 million, an increase of 3.9 per cent. The cost of fuel, maintenance, depreciation and labor are all on the rise, senior managers at the boat line said. The largest costs for the Steamship Authority are labor, which include payroll, benefits and payroll taxes. These costs are predicted to total $47 million next year.

Vineyard Steamship Authority governor Marc Hanover expressed concern about the possibility of more rate increases in the coming years. — Mark Lovewell

“I went through this and I don’t see a lot of fluff anywhere,” said Vineyard governor Marc Hanover, speaking about the budget. “I think you guys have done an outstanding job getting the company lean.”

Beginning Jan. 6, round-trip fares in the automobile excursion program will go up from $61 to $63 in the off-season and from $92 to $94 in summer. The fare includes two adults and two children.

It will also cost 50 cents more to ride the ferry as an adult passenger, bringing that fee to $8.50 for a one-way trip, including embarkation fees.

Regular automobile rates remain unchanged.

Daily parking fees in the Falmouth lots will go up to $15 from May to September and to $13 a day from September to April.

The rate increases also include hikes for Nantucket ferries.

And these rate increases aren’t the last in sight. The boat line is preparing to finance the construction of a new $40 million vessel, as well as the reconstruction of the Woods Hole terminal.

Those projects, along with the ongoing expenses of boat line operations, will likely require more rate increases, which treasurer Robert B. Davis estimated at an average of 2.4 per cent per year.

Mr. Hanover expressed concern over the projections.

“I was terrified when I read you were going to be looking for another $3.6 million dollar rate increase next year, and I just want to know how we can address that and where that is going to come from,” he said.

Excursion rates on the Vineyard route increased by $2 in 2011, and by another $2 in 2013. More than 13,000 customer accounts on the Vineyard and Nantucket are eligible for excursion rates. Passenger fares also went up on the Vineyard route in 2011.

Boat line managers say the fare increases are necessary to maintain the level of service Islanders expect.

But some members of the public present at Tuesday’s meeting had criticism for that service.

Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson. — Mark Lovewell

Recently, Islanders have had difficulty getting their cars off-Island, Mr. Hanover said.

“I have received numerous calls,” he said. “We had a standby line of 65 cars the other day.”

He asked if the seasonal schedule could be extended or if extra freight boats could be put into service.

“It’s very difficult and reservations are very tight,” Mr. Hanover said. “We are not servicing the Island correctly right now.”

Boat line general manager Wayne Lamson said he was aware of the issue, and would revisit the boat repair schedule. He said Nantucket had also been experiencing difficulties in the shoulder season.

“The seasons are getting longer,” Mr. Lamson said. “We’ll look at it and come back with something next month.”

Oak Bluffs selectman Gregory Coogan also brought concerns about the availability of reservations in fall. “If you live here and you don’t make a decision to leave until that last week, you are hostage to six hours or more to try to get off,” Mr. Coogan said.

Oak Bluffs resident Todd Rebello said he thought the fare increases were nominal. Still, he said he had seen the reservation office at the airport shrink from 10 to four employees. “It is appearing to many of us that you see that office as obsolete,” he said. “When you raise prices, you can’t cut services.”

Island resident Jennifer Parkinson’s criticism was for the condition of the vessels; she said she had found both the Island Home and the freight boats to be dirty. “I am very disappointed, and I don’t understand when we are paying so many millions of dollars for personnel, why I never see anybody on the boats, or rarely see them,” she said. “Where do they go when the boats are actually running?”

Caroline Hunter agreed with her assessment.

“Not only are they not clean, they stink. The rest rooms stink on the boat and at the terminal,” she said. She asked for a report on steps taken to address those issues at the next meeting.

That meeting is scheduled to be held in Woods Hole on Nov. 18.

In other business Tuesday the boat line board heard updates on improvements to the Palmer avenue parking lot and construction work on a new consolidated overflow parking lot on Thomas B. Landers Road in Falmouth. Building plans for the new freight ferry to be named the Woods Hole are moving forward; an invitation for bids has gone out with bids due in on Nov. 18.

License agreements were renewed with the Seastreak high-speed passenger ferry that operates from New Bedford, and the Island Queen passenger ferry that operates from Falmouth. Beginning next summer the Seastreak will run only in and out of Oak Bluffs, except during rough weather conditions when the ferry will be diverted to Vineyard Haven.