Ferry Fast Pass A Hit For Some, A Miss For Others, On Island

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Peaks Island residents are being offered a fast for ferry rides, but not everyone likes the idea.

Under a one-year pilot program starting June 19, people who live full time on Peaks Island or pay taxes on property there, along with their spouses, partners and dependents, can apply for $10 annual passes that allow them to board ferries ahead of others.

“I have high hopes. I want the program to be a success, because as a resident it is so desperately needed,” said Lauren Webster, a full-time island resident who commutes to work five days a week.

But a citizen petition pushing for a regulatory investigation into the proposed rate change could sink the priority boarding plan, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Andrew Doukas, a Portland resident who owns a cottage on the island, is opposed to the fast pass, saying its potentially discriminatory and alleges the program would unfairly shift costs to other passengers and restrict public access to the island. He asked the Public Utilities Commission to deny the ferry agency’s rate change request and force it to resubmit a fee that covers the full cost of the program.

Casco Bay Island Transit District General Manager Hank Berg said it was moving ahead with the program but would comply if the PUC determines an investigation is needed.