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T official sees anger during South Shore ferry ride

Posted by dinouye  February 3, 2012 03:40 PM

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Ferry patron Amy Whitcomb Slemmer spoke with Jonathan R. Davis, the general manager of the MBTA.

They say the ferry ride across Boston Harbor into the city is relaxing. It wasn’t this morning for the general manager of the MBTA.

Commuters angry over the MBTA’s plan to eliminate ferry service from the South Shore voiced their disapproval this morning to general manager Jonathan Davis throughout the 25-minute ride from Hull to Boston.

“I really depend on this service,” said Rhoda Kanet, a 65-year-old from Hull. “To even think about eliminating it makes absolutely no sense, and would hurt a lot of people. This should be a priority.”

Facing a $161 million deficit, the transportation agency last month unveiled a plan that would raise subway fares by up to 70 cents and dramatically cull bus routes, eliminate ferries, and end weekend commuter rail trains.

But commuters say the ferries, which are operated by a private company, are a crucial link to the city.

“I can’t spend two extra hours on the Greenbush,” said Alison Angel, a 55-year-old who takes the ferry from Hull en route to the Longwood medical area.

Davis said he understood the importance of the service, but said the agency faces a financial reckoning.

“We don’t take pleasure at having these proposals,” he said. “But we have a $161 million deficit. We can’t afford the services we have now.”

Before the 9 a..m ferry left for Boston, scores of commuters surrounded Davis on the dock, holding “Save The Boat” signs.

The MBTA will hold public hearings on its cost-cutting proposals on Feb. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central St.; Feb. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Thomas Crane Public Library, 40 Washington St., Quincy; and March 7 at 7 p.m. at the Memorial Middle School, 81 Central Ave., Hull.

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