Skagway Ferry Terminal Manager Gary Hanson admires the plaque given him by Capt. George Capacci, manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System. Celebrations were held in the Skagway and Haines terminals Sept. 4 to mark recognition of the Marine Highway as a National Scenic Byway something states competitively vie for. Dimitra Lavrakas
Minor ferry changes in winter ferry schedule
By LUCIE STRAUB
There will be minor changes in the ferry system this winter, in spite of state budget cuts.
Skagway will still have the Taku ferry on the Prince Rupert route that comes twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. Skagway will also have the Matanuska once a week on Monday from Bellingham.
The differences come in November. Last year the LeConte came every Sunday. This winter the main line Kennicott will come every other Sunday. The reasoning for this is this vessel will better serve people because it has twice the capacity of the LeConte.
The changes this winter leads up to the changes next summer. In the summer of 2003, there will be big changes. said Capt. George Capacci, general manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System.
Summer of 2003 will see the Malaspina replaced on the day boat route by several vessels, as the Mal will switch to once a week on Saturday on the Bellingham route.
The daily schedule next summer will see the Columbia on Mondays, the Aurora on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the Taku Thursdays through Sundays.
Boats will also come in from the Prince Rupert route. Late Monday, early Tuesdays, the Matanuska comes in to shore. The Kennicott will come in on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Chuck Van Kirk, schedule planner for the Alaska Marine Highway System, explains that this will bring better service to the Lynn Canal. The reasoning is to match the right boat to the right route. For example, the smaller Aurora will work on slower days in the middle of the week. The majority of people travel the ferry during the weekends, making the Taku a prime choice.
Van Kirk knows of Skagways affection for the Malaspina, so it wasnt scrapped from the schedule completely, he said.
Its a juggle with right ship, right route, right size, Capacci sighs, but its all to better serve everyone.