The front-page Empire story on the continuing troubles of the ferry system, “Aging Fleet, Fewer Riders”, though true, had a rationale that seemed a whitewash to cover administration culpability. DOT Commissioner John MacKinnon is quoted with a ludicrous-sounding assertion that more people are flying now because airlines are more competitive due to enhanced GPS and other technological advances. This analysis continues to ignore several far more huge factors. The increase in ferry ticket cost has been a major one of those factors — coupled with customers getting less service for their increased fare. Further, and more fundamentally, even those who can well afford the higher prices don’t want to ride because the hospitality service onboard has been gutted.
It’s pretty basic. People with money want to enjoy it. Especially during the stress of traveling long distances, or on vacation, such hospitality is desired.
This affects the attractiveness of the entire travel package.
People don’t want to be humiliated financially for cut-rate experiences. So the Commissioner’s argument that the increased competition that ferries are experiencing with airlines has much to do with enhanced airline GPS technology would seem comical, if it didn’t seem moreover diverting.
Let’s just hope this catastrophe isn’t part of a diabolical plan designed to fail, so these worthy assets of the State can be privatized and sold off to friends of our current governor.