Alaska ferry system study looks at aging fleet, fewer riders

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Department of Transportation is considering how to act on a study addressing issues within the Alaska Marine Highway System including an aging fleet and decreased ridership.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Wednesday that the study conducted over spring and summer by a private firm evaluated 11 options for overhauling the network of vessels.

The system’s budget has been cut in half since its peak of $111.2 million in the fiscal year 2012 and service levels have been cut about 25% over that time.

Officials say ridership has declined from about 350,000 ferry passengers in 1998 to 251,000 passengers in 2018.

Officials say 10 of the state’s 12 ferries average 37 years old and six ferries are more than 40 years old. Two ferries are docked and awaiting sale.

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Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce, http://www.alaskajournal.com

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