The decision by the DOT to implement a new flat rate ticket structure comes after more than a year of public meetings and input on how the Department could raise the revenue needed to cover its projected 2020 operating budget of $11 million.
"The new flat rate ticket structure will create a straightforward pricing system that will immediately simplify operations," said MSFS Manager Mark Higgins, in the release. "Once this pricing structure is in place, we will look to implement new technologies to better serve our customers, particularly systems that will improve customer service and can provide the potential for on-line sales and the data collection vitally needed for enhanced forecasting and long-term planning."
Tickets sold under the last MSFS Tariff No. 7 in 2012 will expire when the new rate structure goes into effect on May 21. MSFS will allow 90 days from the effective date for certain tickets to be traded in, and others will have a non-cash upgrade value that will not expire. Detailed notices about ticket expirations will be posted for customers.
The MSFS, a division of the MaineDOT, serves the island communities of Vinalhaven, North Haven, Islesboro, Swans Island, Frenchboro and Matinicus. In 2017, the MSFS served almost 700,000 passengers and 190,000 vehicles.
In addition, the capital costs of the ferry service- including the construction of ferry boats, maintenance and upgrade to facilities and improvements to supporting infrastructure - are fully funded through MaineDOT.