Budgeting Constraints: Ferry Schedule Reduced

April 12, 2011

[Updated with audio/video] This afternoon [Apr.12] Government announced the summer ferry schedule which commenced yesterday. Various routes have been reduced due to “budgeting constraints”.

Acting Minister of Transport Michael Weeks hosted a press conference to discuss the new Ferry Schedule. He said that the Department of Marine & Ports Services’ current account budget for fiscal year 2011/12 has been reduced by 16%, with the Ferry service budget reduced by 24%, and “therefore the Department had to make changes to our operation and schedule due to budgeting constraints.”

The audio of Minister Weeks’ full statement is below:

The Minister said that some operational costs are fixed with little scope for cost cutting, however other costs such as fuel consumption [37% of the operational budget] can be adjusted to minimize expenditure.

Therefore the majority of the changes to the schedule reflect their effort to reduce fuel consumption. In addition to cutting back on various routes, they will work on reducing operating speeds from 28 knots to 23 knots to conserve fuel.

Officials confirmed there will be no staff cuts in the Department, and when asked by VSB what the staff will be doing Director of Marine and Ports Francis Richardson said, “By reducing the schedule on some of the routes, the staff have been redeployed to provide cover for the remainder of the routes. That way in the event there is is sickness, or an individual does not show up for work we have cover for the duration of our services.”

“That is another element that most folks don’t really take into consideration, in particular when it comes to weekend services. The overtime budget last year, the overtime spent was over $800,000. That is a substantial number when you consider your budget has been cut by $1.9 million”

The audio of Mr Francis’ Q&A with the media is below:

The schedule changes, provided by Government, are as follows:

Pink Route – (Paget /Warwick) –

Reduced the number of ferries in this service from two to one which has resulted in some midday services being suspended. In this schedule Lower Ferry and Hodsdon’s Ferry has had all commuter service suspended. The weekend and public holiday services have also been omitted.

Orange Route- (East End Service)

Commuter routes have been suspended and daytime services have been reduced from two large fast ferries to one. We will provide a daily supplementary service using the 750 passenger vessel Bermudian which will make one round trip departing from Dockyard at 10:30 am and return from St. George’s at 3:30 pm with the exception of Tuesdays when the vessel will service the Veendam.

Green Route-(Rockaway)

This route was impacted with loss of the two midday services between the 9:00am and 4:00pm runs. The 7:10 pm final run was also cancelled.

Blue-(West-End)

The only change to this route is the reduced late night service to Dockyard with the last trip from Dockyard to Hamilton at 9:00pm

Minister Weeks’ full statement follows below:

Good afternoon, and thank you for coming today at short notice.

As of yesterday, Monday, April 11th, 2011, we commenced our summer ferry schedule.

When determining the final schedule for this summer season the Department of Marine and Ports faced some tough decisions.

Similar to other Government Departments, the Department of Marine & Ports Services’ current account budget for fiscal year 2011/12 has been reduced by 16% when compared to the 2010/11 original estimate.

In particular the Ferry service budget for the current fiscal year has been reduced by 24% when compared to last year’s 2010/11 original budget.

Therefore the Department had to make changes to our operation and schedule due to budgeting constraints. Some of our operational costs are fixed with little scope for cost cutting.

However, other costs such as fuel consumption, which represents 37 % of the operational budget, is a variable that can be adjusted to minimize expenditure.

Therefore the majority of the changes to our schedule reflect our effort to reduce fuel consumption.
One simple way we are working to reduce fuel costs is to reducing operating speeds from 28 knots to 23 knots.

M&P staff also carefully studied all routes and reduced service on the routes and specific runs that have low ridership.

We have worked to ensure that vessels are deployed where there is ridership demand.

The schedule changes are as follows:

Pink Route – (Paget /Warwick) –

We have reduced the number of ferries in this service from two to one which has resulted in some midday services being suspended.

In this schedule Lower Ferry and Hodsdon’s Ferry has had all commuter service suspended.

The weekend and public holiday services have also been omitted from our schedule, however we are pleased to announce that we are working on a public-private partnership to provide this service and we hope to make an announcement imminently.

Orange Route- (East End Service)-

Commuter routes have been suspended and daytime services have been reduced from two large fast ferries to one.

We will provide a daily supplementary service using the 750 passenger vessel Bermudian which will make one round trip departing from Dockyard at 10:30 am and return from St. George’s at 3:30 pm with the exception of Tuesdays when the vessel will service the Veendam.

Therefore the passenger carrying capacity is similar to the levels provided in 2010. It was a difficult decision to completely eliminate the commuter service from the east end.

However the ridership remained low with an average of 30 passengers on a vessel that has a capacity for 200. Additionally the first trip from Hamilton in the morning and the last trip from the east end are dead runs with no passengers aboard.

Green Route-(Rockaway)-

The Rockaway route is our most popular commuter service. This route was impacted with loss of the two midday services between the 9:00am and 4:00pm runs.

The 7:10 pm final run was also cancelled due to low ridership with the final trip now at 6:30 pm.

Blue-(West-End)-

The only change to this route is the reduced late night service to Dockyard with the last trip from Dockyard to Hamilton at 9:00pm.

Again this decision is based on the lower number of passengers experienced after 9:00pm which ranged between 10 and 35 people last summer.

On Wednesday’s Harbour nights the same level of service will be provided as last season to accommodate the higher ridership with locals and visitors attending Harbour Nights.

While we have seen much public discussion concerning the summer schedule, I would like to assure the public that the Department made careful consideration in revising the schedules.

Ridership numbers and budget constraints were closely examined and every effort was made to provide the most comprehensive service possible.

However, we will continue to monitor the ridership and will make adjustments where possible to improve service.

Premier Cox has tasked the entire Government to do more with less.

We believe we have struck the right balance in providing the maximum possible service while seeking to control costs and ensure a safe, efficient service for our residents and visitors.

Thank you.

Update: Video of Minister Weeks:

Update #2: Video of Director of Marine and Ports Francis Richardson answering questions:

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Comments (49)

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  1. Sarah says:

    Sigh.
    Wonder what will happen with the buses.

  2. Corona-ry says:

    Very sad and I suspect that these routes will never be restored as previous cutbacks never were. The ferry will eventually go the way of the train. Such a great tourist attraction gone forever – just like the tourists I guess.

  3. Aquarius says:

    so irritated at the lack of service to the east end. trying to completly obliterate any hope of getting more businesses to open in this dying town… take into consideration its hard to get to town on the daily commute (now high gas rates and increasing town parking costs are our only option in this already depressing economy), businesses are dying or already dead and no hope in sight for the little people down here. but make sure the tourists can get here to see… hmmm…

  4. Chilly says:

    LAAAAAAAAME! So with all the huge capital investment over the past 10 years we actually end up with an inferior schedule than what we had before. I think people would rather go slower but still have the ferry service.

    PLPhalfassmanagementDreffingBrownWTF.

  5. sigh says:

    While on the face of it I was concerned at the reduction, if people are not using the ferries enough to satisfy the costs associated with it, then a responsible government must make decisions. Of course it will disappoint those that are using it, and that is unfortunate, but at the end of the day, a decision has to be made.

    • LOL (original) says:

      All that free stuff again + the spending + recession I have to agree poor management bits again. The people are always the ones that suffer in the end maybe MPs across the board should give up 10% of thier second salary.

      LOL

    • the truth shall set you free says:

      Irresponsible governance is why all these cuts are now being made. It seems to me everything is being cut exect for the salaries of the idiots that frivolously spent away the taxpayer money in the first place.

  6. crazytalk says:

    He says “The premier tasked the government to do more with less”. Unfortunately, he is actually doing less with the same resources. I don’t see any area where he is doing “more”. He is also not making any employees redundant, so he is not doing it “with less”. He is just doing less.

    Is this the best they could come up with?

  7. Terry says:

    One should not loose sight of the operators of these vessels in current years and the past 20-30 years. The Tug and Ferry guys could makes their own schedule and stay on station for many more hours than required.

    Check your local Tug boat Captain, et al over the past 20 years………Show me one that does not live in a million dollar house + plus all supplies that come aboard. Been a farce for many years.

    And yes there are some that do a great job….don’t they all?

    Yes it’s been reduced. They still get paid…..tink about hit….. and their hourly wage? Damn…………………………….

    • d reader says:

      everyones house is worth over a million dollars now
      secondly would yu prefer they broke into houses

      personally i dont use the ferry because i live town
      but are yu asking how much reduction on the environment less cars from somerset every day

    • Tired of Stupid A** PPl says:

      @ Terry you always on here talking crap about stuff you know nothing about…. Almost every topic you have an empty headed opinion, I think its quite sad at how you can respond to somethings you have no clue about. Just like any other hard working person these workers are on the clock before the sun rises and are there well after the sunsets. They do what they are required to do and more, working in public transpertation is basically dedicating most of your time to your job. I know for a fact that the pay is not all that, they don’t recieve what they are due.I mean come on be real with ya self and just read comments and not reply cause you sound stupid and you need to learn to proof read the comments before you post them.I mean damn I know bernews says speak ur mind but I think they were refering to those who have one.

  8. Guy says:

    Cancel a West End ferry that gets people to work for 9, but keep the ferry that gets into town at 9.30. Solution is to drive to Salt Kettle instead…

  9. MinorMatters says:

    Get rid of at least two government ministers in the st. george’s area who do not appear interested in the commuters/constituents of the area and that amounts to at least $300,000 of savings that should be more than enough to provide 2 daily trips, 5 days a week (and less when the weather is inclement) for the people who made the mistake of voting them into government.

  10. rubber bong says:

    “redeployed to provide cover for the remainder of the routes”…well if all routes have been reduced in some way, they can’t all be redeployed to cover for each other if the ferries aren’t moving anyway. What he isn’t saying is that most of the ‘redeployed’ will be sitting in the yard doing nothing because they still have to make their 37.5 hrs per week whether the ferries move or not. for the “redeployment’ to be effective, the number of redeployed would have to equal the number of sick or absent workers and it’s HIGHLY unlikely that 20+ people would take sick at once on a consistent basis.

    Maybe they could help out the severely lacking maintenance department. i’ve been told by reliable sources that the mechanics are some of the highest earners in the department due to overtime and purposefully scheduling work for the weekends yet we see constant mechanical issues.

    • Terry says:

      Well I guess your nothing but a ‘rubber-fender’…..

    • Afloat in the mire says:

      We now have 4 crew riding on the Paget/Warwick line this week, so it seems they took the boat away, but still had to stick the bodies somewhere!!

  11. Just wondering says:

    Would it be possible for some one to start up a private ferry service?

    • Just wondering as well says:

      Well it says “…however we are pleased to announce that we are working on a public-private partnership to provide this service and we hope to make an announcement imminently.”

      Maybe… for Lower Ferry & Hodson’s anyway.

      There is no explanation that the 9.30 and 10.30 ferries are still running yet nobody can get to work on time. Duh!!

    • Terry says:

      Absolutely. 4million for three cheap seaworthy ferry’s. $10 thousand per 1/4 for morrings…..$25 an hour for hustle truck/Red Bull employees…….damn… go for it.

      Catch a bloody bus………………………..their all over the place…secret is….yah gutta sey goud mourning hore haftanoon……

      People will bitch and moan about arryting. Nawa haid ah Farry Survize owa dee past shree hundrad yerz two de Heast Hand………….bitch, moan, shoot……………………….gotta leave dee site…..juzz gut too pahndz rahn dee curb……………………

    • MinorMatters says:

      Just wondering, if you are serious leave a contact email. I had proposed something nearly eight years ago and to be honest the Dept of Transp/Marine were interested but a civil servant thought he knew best…if I had had the cash withwhich to make it all go away, this topic would probably be a non-issue.

      • Terry says:

        Well, apparently it is an issue with you. Four Boston Whalers +Insurance and 200 gold coins………..if yah serious………never mind……greed…….

  12. True Dat says:

    There go the Polytricksters BULLSH#@TING AGAIN!!!!

  13. Sheriff says:

    AND DARN-IT!! MAKE SURE EVERYONE PAYS !!! TOO MANY PPL WALKING UP ON THE DANG THING FOR FREE!!!! THEN BRAG HOW THEY RIDE FOR FREE !!! PUT WOMEN UP THE FRONT>>>THEY’LL MAKE THEM PAY-NO EXCUSES ABOUT HOW YOU FORGOT THE MONTH ENDED AND NO TIME TO GET THE NEW PASS-JUST SHOW US THE MONEY !!

    & DON’T FORGET THE FERRY BULLIES ! OLD WOMEN FIGHTING FOR THEIR SAME SPOT OR TO BE FIRST IN LINE ! AND GRIMP AND MOAN WHEN SOMEONE ELSE SITS THERE !! OH GROW UP!

    PERHAPS THIS IS WHY THE NUMBERS ARE DOWN…HMMM !

    • LMFAO!!!! says:

      Tell me about it, too bad the female that worked on the war baby is no longer there cause she never let ppl come pass her with no none sense…

  14. Au Contraire says:

    But but but …. Wasn’t the ferry service one of the great plp accomplishments??

    Its all just smoke and mirrors – until you run out money.

    • Reality says:

      Fast ferries, fast ferries, fast ferries, oh and don’t forget bout those fast ferries! LOL

  15. MinorMatters says:

    …wait a minute, if this government is cancelling services for financial reasons, then how the hell was the FREE BUSES/FERRIES plan supposed to work?

  16. Keep it up says:

    Well as one person said already what will be shut down next. We are start the tourist season and every sector of the island West, East and Central need to have that dispursment of the tourists from Dockyard to help the ENTIRE island.

    Secondly WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING to the LOCALS that use this mode of transport that is effective and efficient and reduces traffic on the roads??????

    Come on MINISTERS take a pay cut and lets start doing things for the good of the country and not for your own pockets.

    • Terry says:

      Just more crap to stir up the locals. Sorta like a free survey. You guys fall as prey too easy. Plus a distraction is great. Next week..386 retired Policeman tell how things are great with no mortgage and running security whilst running commentary and …………..living off their earnings in……and you wonder why I……………….

  17. M&P is Full Of IT says:

    Come on n cut the crap, and keep it real with everyone Francis. Due to your bad spending now the commuters have to suffer…

  18. International Observer says:

    Isn’t it time Minister’s had the ability to conduct a press interview without a lengthy script. The whole message just comes across so unconvincing.

  19. Listen to what de man says:

    (Best when read allowed)

    De ferries was spose to cot darn de treffic comin tarn. Guass that idea is f****d naw. Gled I live eas a tarn.

    Now that arryone gotta “Ass You Wee” – traffic be eeen verse. Arrybody going by Johnny B at valkin pace.

    Pee Al Pee what donnit.

    Carse yer wote nax time get ridda dese kets!

  20. Bring back the Triton says:

    They averaged only 30 people from the East End on the commuter trips because most people make 9:00am to work but they had the schedule so that the 6 people who made 8:30am could use it too. Very often people in the east asked for the time to leave St. George’s later at 8:00am and they would use it but no one listened. They catered to the smallest number and wonder why it left empty.

    They have chased away the people from the Paget/Warwick service by creating a schedule which is not convenient for those using it and constantly changing the times. If I catch the ferry to work and go home sick at noon, I have to catch a taxi back to my car at Darrell’s wharf or the bus to Warwick Academy and walk down. If so, why bother. And the fuel bill for a boat with one slow engine should not be that high, and it is shut down in Hamilton between trips.

    If the times are not convenient and constant for the public, why would they use it. When I rode the ferry years ago it was the same schedule for years from Belmont at 8:00am until they changed it once to 7:58am and lost riders who were made late for work cause we kept the schedule in our head, now it changes every six months. That’s why the ridership had dropped.

  21. Rockfish#2 says:

    Given the reduction in service, there is no way that the same number of staff needs to remain unchanged. The reasons given simply make no sense.

    Marine and Ports will now have the best card and checkers players in Bermuda.

  22. UncleElvis says:

    Kinda wish I had a boat! I’d offer to run people back and forth to and from Dockyard for money.

    Who cares if it’s illegal? The way things are going, they’re gonna shut down the Police, too…

  23. Observer who says:

    Why were four crew members seen on the Warwick ferry today? They only need two and they canceled the other ferry. So the story comes out. Fecking PLP.

  24. What is going on? says:

    Cut the ferry routes, make the public suffer…… oh and btw let’s make it harder for our tourists to get around…… but don’t think of touching all those GP cars that cost the taxpayers a lot of money, let’s not make it harder for our representatives of our country…. how would they get to work…. hmmmm!

    • Not Suprised says:

      Absolutely, been saying that for some time now!

  25. Simon says:

    The ferry routes were never designed for the convenience of the public – but for the convenience of the workers at M & P. Its no wonder the number of passengers became less and less.

    These people could not organize a pissup at Goslings. Pathetic all of you!!!

    PLP has ruined our country. Only when the common man gets pissed off enough will we be able to protest loud enough and get something done. We are not there yet – because the only people who protest are a ‘few frustrated whites’ apparently.

    When the brothers and sisters get involved we’ll be cookin wiff gars!

    • Keepingit100 says:

      Are you retarded or what? How do figure the schedule is made only to suite the workers, you must be Sippin on some stupid juice. FYI it’s management who set forth schedules to save their butts. Workers fight against them because of the commuters. I don’t know where you or anyone else gets off judging things without any knowledge of what’s going. All Government departments are managed by morons who feel they kno more then the workers. When really they don’t know squat, when the workers tell their dumb a**es they don’t listen. So the end result is this dumb ass excuse about ferry schedule has been rearranged due to the budget that they have miss handling for years. So to Simon STFU cause just like the morons

  26. In the shade...... says:

    … and while we are at it.
    When is the Hamilton Ferry Dock Terminal going to be renovated. The roof panels ripped off last year during the Hurricane have still not been replaced.

    1. It looks like Haiti
    2. It is getting hotter and passengers need shade
    3. Oh I forgot, we have run out of cash.

    Wake up Government, you are sitting in an ivory tower.

    I also agree with International Observer, Ministers can’t even run a press conference without a script, but I forgot again, that’s why they all employ consultants.

    • LOL (original) says:

      It’s an onyx tower now baby yea……………

      LOL

  27. Idle Hands says:

    I thought the ferry schedule was designed for the tourists.

  28. Let's think about this... says:

    Hmmm, didn’t parking in town increase this year??? To avoid paying these higher fees to park in town, we thought – let’s catch the ferry/bus. Well, City of Hamilton probably saw a drop in the number of cars parking in town… and thought how do we bring the cars back into the City… cut the commuter ferries!!! It’s all a plan – we think they are dumb, but they are smarter than we think.

    • Reality says:

      Time to show a lesson. Everyone that is able, START driving your bike to town. You will save a ton of money. If its raining take the bus. Or start a car pool with your neighbors and pitch in for gas/parking.
      Beat them at their own games!