Ferry Ridership up in Kodiak

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Jay Barrett/KMXT

If it seemed busier at the Kodiak ferry dock last year, it wasn’t your imagination. Folks getting off the Tustumena and Kennicott in Kodiak went up nine percent, while those getting on went up over 11 percent. Those figures were included in the 2009 Annual Traffic Volume Report released on Friday.
Jim Beedle is the Department of Transportation’s deputy commissioner for the Alaska Marine Highway System. He says the increase in Kodiak traffic was surprising even to him:

— (Ferry 1 44 sec "It’s very impressive … coming back to the marine highway.")*

He said both the external factors he mentioned and having more runs contributed to the increases:

— (Ferry 2 25 sec "You know you had … those are huge.")*

Last year 10,820 passengers disembarked in Kodiak, up nearly 700 from the year before. Meanwhile those that climbed aboard rose almost 1,000. Vehicle traffic was up nearly 18 percent, after declining in 2008.
Passenger traffic in the marine highway’s Southwest Region, which runs from Prince William Sound to Unalaska, is about a third or less than the traffic in the Southeast arm of the system, but runs with only two to four ships, depending on the time of year. Not surprisingly, June, July and August are the high volume months throughout the system.
Beedle says his department is working closely with the governor’s office, the legislature and DOT management to keep the system funded and schedule consistent:

— (Ferry 3 40 sec "We get approval from … level of service going.")*

Being connected to the road system, it’s natural that Homer has the most passengers passing through its terminal, with just over 13,000. After Kodiak, Seldovia and Port Lions, the Alaska Peninsula and Dutch Harbor communities account for about 1,500 passengers per year on the Tusty, which makes the southwest run between April and October.

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