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Salem ferry opening delayed until first weekend in June

Posted by Ryan Mooney  May 24, 2012 10:41 AM

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The opening of the Salem to Boston Ferry has been delayed until the first weekend in June, despite efforts by the city of Salem to start on Memorial Day weekend. The exact date that service will begin has yet to be announced.

The city began the process of changing service operators this spring after six-year provider Water Transportation Alternative announced plans to cut back on service due to revenue concerns. Boston Harbor Cruises - the largest private operator of passenger vessels in the nation - is set to take over after submitting the only bid for service.

Kathy Winn, deputy director of Salem's planning department, cited contract hurdles as the reason for pushing back the start date.

"We're transitioning between the two operators, and it's just sort of taking a while to get everything signed up, getting [Boston Harbor Cruises] under a new contract, ending the last contract," Winn said.

Boston Harbor Cruises has operated the Salem ferry in the past, and when WTA announced its intention to cut back on weekday and commuter service, the city began looking for a new operator.

In the past the ferry has generally made about half-a-dozen round trips per day from May through October, and Boston Harbor Cruises had offered a full schedule - including the commuter service that Mayor Driscoll has been adamant about including - to the city with its original bid.

The company could not be reached for comment, but Winn said that a full, daily schedule is still expected.

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