Correction: In an earlier version of this article the reporter mistakenly made a claim about the percentage of the Steamship Authority fleet that was operating. We have updated the piece below.
A scathing report was released Monday on the state of the Steamship Authority, the ferry service that runs between Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. It has been plagued with problems. Seattle-based HMS Consulting and Technical, which was brought on to review the Authority, has released its findings. They were the subject of a public hearing in Falmouth Monday held by the Steamship Authority's board. Reporter Sarah Mizes-Tan from WGBH Radio's Cape Cod Bureau was at the hearing and spoke with WGBH All Things Considered host Barbara Howard. The following transcript has been edited for clarity.
Barbara Howard: So first, give us a recap. What kind of things are going wrong at the Steamship Authority?
Sarah Mizes-Tan: The Steamship Authority has suffered a number of problems with its vessels and interruptions in vessel service over the past year. So people have been very frustrated.
Howard: What kind of recommendations did the report make?
Mizes-Tan: They strongly recommended that the Steamship Authority hire a consultant to help them create a road map toward next steps, because they really did suggest a lot of different positions and a lot of changes in management that’s going to have to happen. They mentioned that there are some areas where there are multiple department heads reporting to one manager, and it’s inefficient and in the end not really a cost-saving measure at all. They also mentioned that there may be some fare hikes in the future because they’ve got to create about $1 million extra per year in order to sustain these changes, and so that’s going to have to come most likely from ferry-goers' pockets.
Howard: So they’re talking about maybe making changes in the upper ranks to get the Steamship Authority running better. But how are the leaders of the Steamship Authority reacting to that kind of criticism?
Mizes-Tan: The board took it very well, I would say. It was a pretty calm meeting. One of the members mentioned that initially, when he read the report, he was incensed. He said it was a pretty harsh report, and it definitely pointed out that there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. But he said that after hearing the presentation tonight, he felt better equipped to go forward on this.
Howard: What about the rank and file at the Steamship Authority, the people who are hands-on, who you see on the boats, working them. Were they heard from?
Mizes-Tan: They weren’t, unfortunately. They didn’t really have a lot of representation. There wasn’t a whole lot of public comment, unfortunately.
Howard: How soon do we expect to see changes implemented?
Mizes-Tan: They definitely say it’s going to take most likely a few months, but probably in the next year or so we should start to see some changes happening, whether that comes with fare-hikes or slightly better service, who knows.
Howard: That's reporter Sarah Mizes-Tan with WGBH Radio's Cape Cod bureau, telling us about a blistering report released Monday on problems at the Steamship Authority, which runs ferries between Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. This is WGBH's All Things Considered.