Effective March 28

Maine ferry runs to and from islands to be reduced during pandemic

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 3:00pm

ROCKLAND — The Maine State Ferry Service will be reducing its schedule due to a significant decrease in ridership and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

This reduction in service will take effect on Saturday, March 28, and remain in effect until further notice.

“Like many other ferry services across the country, we have experienced a recent decrease in ridership as a result of the current health climate,” according to a news release from the Maine Dept. of Transportation. “These reduced ridership levels will still allow passengers to practice social distancing even with fewer trips between the mainland the six islands served by the Ferry Service. Our staffing levels remain largely unchanged. With a reduced schedule, our crews will be able to devote more time to sanitizing and maintaining our vessels. This reduction in service also helps limit the exposure of our employees and passengers. You can view the updated schedule posted on the MSFS website: https://www.maine.gov/mdot/ferry/.

“Earlier this month, we posted our Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) on the Ferry Service website along with a message about our efforts to keep our vessels clean and our passengers safe. Following that post, we announced that Ferry Service staffers would switch to visually inspecting tickets to further limit personal interactions and the spread of COVID-19. We continue to encourage passengers to stay in their vehicles while riding our ferries. Passengers who choose to exit their vehicles should practice social distancing. The latest information about Maine State Ferry Service schedule and policies is always available on the MSFS website.

“We want to thank our dedicated employees for their continued hard work and attention to safety during these challenging times. We also want to thank our valued customers for helping us to promote health and safety while continuing to serve the islands of Vinalhaven, North Haven, Islesboro, Swan's Island, Frenchboro, and Matinicus.

“We continue to welcome feedback. Anyone with questions or concerns, should feel free to contact Maine State Ferry Service Director Mark Higgins at 207-596-5422 or mark.a.higgins@maine.gov, MaineDOT Director of Maintenance and Operations Dave Bernhardt at 207-624-3567 or david.bernhardt@maine.gov, and MaineDOT Chief Operating Officer Bill Pulver at 207-624-3002 or william.pulver@maine.gov.”