Monday, March 31, 2008

Changes for 2008 Boston Harbor Islands Ferry Service

It won't be long before ferry service starts up again to the Boston Harbor Islands--the new season starts on May 3. The 2008 ferry schedule has been posted on the Boston Harbor Islands web site, and it looks like there are some changes from last year. For one thing, it looks like prices have gone up on the ferry. Adult fares are $14, up from $12 last year. And then, in small type, the schedule says a $1 fuel surcharge will be added to all rates due to increasing fuel prices. (Why not make the charge $15 and have it built in? Might eliminate some confusion among island visitors.)
It also looks like there is now a $5 charge for the inter-island ferry. It was free last year. The inter-island ferry runs to Grape, Bumpkin, Peddocks, Georges, and Lovells. The schedule also says that mainland boats don't connect Spectacle and Georges although the mainland ferry timetable has it stopping at both, so that's not too clear to me. Might mean that if you want to go to Spectacle and Georges in one day, you'll need to pay $15 for a ticket to Spectacle and then another $5 to get to Georges. I hope that's not the case because it's going to price some people out of going to the islands. (Although if you buy the inter-island ticket before leaving Boston, it's only $3.) There is a $42 rate you can pay for 2 adults and 2 children, actually $46 with the fuel surcharge, but that's quite a hike from $32 last year. Ferry transportation is just a costly mode, and the hike in oil prices is not helping.

Another schedule change is that it looks like South Shore service will be leaving from Hingham this year, not the Quincy Shipyard.

The good news is that weekend ferry service to Spectacle Island will be extended to November 1 and there is a new vessel for the inter-island ferry. Those boarding at Long Wharf will also have a new patio-like area with more tables and chairs. There's a picture of the new area above.

The Islands web site also has posted dates for some of the special programs and events. Looks like more dates for vintage baseball games. There's also an event in conjunction with the Grape Island Alarm, which sounds like an interesting program. Will give some more publicity to this little-known skirmish in the Revolutionary War.

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