Martha’s Vineyard residents who wanted to talk about the Steamship Authority’s latest fare hikes — or any other topic — at the boat line’s monthly meeting on the Island Tuesday were required to wait until after the increases became reality. As is customary with SSA meeting agendas, public comment was the last item before adjournment.

“I was shocked,” said Vineyard governor Marc Hanover after the meeting. “I thought the public comment would be first.” Other Vineyarders evidently thought the same thing, with some 50 people joining about a half-dozen SSA staffers in the high school Performing Arts Center for a public session that began at 4:20 p.m.

The agenda included an update on the increasingly controversial Woods Hole terminal reconstruction project, with a slideshow on the auditorium’s large screen showing photographs of recent work on the waterfront.

Boat line general manager Robert Davis delivered the monthly business report and also reported on the independent review of boat line management practices, under way for the last few months by Seattle-based HMS Consulting and Management LLC. Consultants were originally due to produce a final report in early November, but are now expected to have the report ready in time for next month’s meeting, set for Nov. 27 in Falmouth.

Recently hired communications director Sean Driscoll announced that the boat line now has an active Facebook page and Twitter account, both with the user name steamshipauthorityma.

Woods Hole terminal reconstruction project is under fire over the planned design. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The Island audience listened to the proceedings — with repeated calls for governors and staff to speak directly into their microphones — until the board unanimously approved the fare increases, first unveiled at a meeting last month just after the board voted in the $105 million 2019 operating budget.

“No public comment on the rates?” a man asked from the seats. “You’re passing it first?” a woman called. Other mutterings were heard among the audience, scattered in ones and twos across the orchestra section of the 791-seat theatre.

Backing off a proposal to raise on-season Island-based excursion vehicle fares, the governors approved 12.5 per cent hikes in on-season standard vehicle fares and freight rates and a $5 per day increase in summer Saturday and Sunday parking rates at the Falmouth lots. It’s the first fare increase in six years and the first parking increase in four years, according to the SSA.

Retiring Oak Bluffs terminal manager Bridget Tobin, who started her boat line career in 1974 as a reservation clerk, received a standing ovation with widespread cheers and applause after Mr. Davis called her “truly an example of the best the Steamship has to offer.”

“Put her on the board!” called a pair of voices from the crowd. More cheers came when Mr. Davis announced that Ms. Tobin will return to work next summer.

The mood darkened when public comments began, as Islander after Islander approached the microphone to challenge the Woods Hole terminal redesign, the boat line’s perceived expansion on Martha’s Vineyard and the way the SSA applies rate increases at years-long intervals.

“Please do [the increases] incrementally,” said Island hotelier Josh Goldstein. “Do it, if you need to, annually. Nobody likes a big kick to cover a deficit.”

Fred Condon expressed frustration that the public was not allowed to speak until the final minutes of the meeting, which was scheduled to end at 6 p.m.

“How can you have a meeting when you ask people to come — because you really want to hear from them, because you want to get a sense of what’s going on — put us last on the agenda, make us wait through your meeting and then tell us we have six minutes?” Mr. Condon asked. “I’d be embarrassed.”

Tisbury selectman Melinda Loberg was waiting to speak when board chairman Robert Ranney of Nantucket adjourned the meeting shortly after 6. Mrs. Loberg told the Gazette she had planned to suggest cutting Falmouth parking rates, instead of raising them, to encourage more people to leave their cars ashore.

The board of governors holds its next regular meeting at 10 a.m. Nov. 27 in the Steamship Authority headquarters on Palmer avenue in Falmouth. Meetings generally take place on the third Tuesday of the month, but Nov. 20 was too close to Thanksgiving, Mr. Davis said.