Meeting Notes: Ferry Committee 2009.05.11

MEETING NOTES: FERRY COMMITTEE MEETING

May 11, 2009

 

The Guemes Island Ferry Committee met May 11 at 7 pm at the Guemes Community Church.  Allen Bush, Jr., Carl Cady, Dyvon Havens, Steve Orsini, Glen Veal and Terry Ebersole were in attendance.

 

Note Taking – A discussion regarding who would be responsible to take notes at committee meetings was the first item addressed.  The committee decided the job should rotate among the members and Terry volunteered for the extant meeting.  Beginning with the next meeting the job assignment will be on a last name alphabetical basis.

 

Election of Chair – The committee discussed the somewhat unusual situation created by the election of Steve to chair the last meeting due to the election issues on the agenda and where that left the chairpersonship proceeding forward.  The committee decided unanimously that absent guidance in our current by-laws Glen would continue as chair.  It may be appropriate to address the chairmanship selection and retention process as part of the by-laws updating process to be undertaken this year.

 

Winter/Summer Schedule – Carl asked if the group thought the ferry riders wanted a variation of schedule during the summer months.  The members’ discussion of the matter quickly lead to the conclusion that the summer weekend schedule is really the issue.  Sunday’s boat schedule in particular is troublesome, and Friday’s may be although less likely so as service runs through 11 pm.  Susan Rombeek raised her weekend schedule concerns regarding the deletion of Friday and Saturday service to midnight and Sunday to 10 pm in a May 5th letter to committee members.  Based on Carl’s analysis of past years’ ridership data, it appears that the current Sunday schedule will not suffice to get all people off the island on Sundays as there is not sufficient vehicle capacity on the boat.  Sunday departures typically begin in earnest at 1 pm and with no extra runs and the last departure at 8 pm, vehicles are going to be left behind—unless accommodations are made in the Sunday pm operation.  The committee determined an immediate meeting with the Ferry Manager was called for to raise the committee’s concerns and to determine what the County’s proposal is to deal with the problem.  Several options were offered by various members including extra runs; continuous operations; the scheduling of an additional captain so that crew dinner breaks could be staggered and the break in service avoided; and extended hours, recognizing that would probably necessitate approval action by the Board of County Commissioners.  Glen will respond to Ms. Rombeek’s letter after our meeting with the Ferry Manager.

 

Erosion of Level of Service – Several members expressed their own and other riders’ concern as to an ongoing problem of late departures even when the boat has less than a full vehicle load.  The members recognize that additional service is costly with an estimate of $7,000 per annum to add an additional hour of service.  Operational belt tightening was suggested by Allen as one way to help contain operation costs.  Members have recently become aware of the occasional use of a fourth crewmember and are unclear as to why that is occurring.  The decision was to raise these issues again with the Ferry Manager.  Glen will try to schedule a meeting with Ron Panzero early Wednesday morning, May 13.  The proposed agenda items are:

 

  1. Haulout
  2. Updates/Corrections to County Ferry webpage
  3. Winter/Summer schedule—especially summer weekends
  4. Fourth crew member
  5. Ticketing
  6. Cost controls
  7. Roundtable
  8. Guemes Island Road widening
  9. Parking Security   

 

Haulout Feedback – The committee has decided to seek direct feedback from the riders as to their experiences during the recent boat haulout.  We discussed using a prepared question format and an open ended discussion type question format and will probably use a mix of both.  Allen will present the committee for their review ideas on how best to proceed with this.  The process will be largely computer based utilizing our growing email address list with links to http://gifc.octopia.com.  The committee recognizes the need for outreach as well to those without computers and discussed also placing the feedback request in The Evening Star.

 

Email regarding purchase of fare media – Allen has drafted an email which the committee decided to send which will spell out the summer fare schedule and suggests to riders the advantages of multi-trip fare media both in terms of cost and in terms of helping to speed up the boat loading process.  Dyvon will send the piece to our email list after Allen make some minor changes to it.  She will also check with Joseph Miller about ways to increase email access to ridership.

 

Sub-committee on problems for persons with disabilities – The committee discussed the benefits of getting a group of persons together to evaluate the problems being encountered in using the ferry by person with disabilities.  The group would tentatively include persons with disabilities, and representatives of Guemes Connects, the Ferry Committee, Guemes Fire Department, the County, SKAT, Arrow Launch and possibly others.  The committee needs to do additional organizing work on this.

 

Citizen Advisory Committee By-laws – The committee will be pulling together examples of the bylaws of various citizen advisory groups to assist us as we work to upgrade the Ferry Committee bylaws.

 

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

T. Ebersole

 

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