The state Department of Transportation will raise fares on the Chester-Hadlyme and Rocky Hill-Glastonbury ferries in two phases, the first beginning Monday.
The DOT had first proposed this spring doubling all fares on the Connecticut River ferries starting in July but stated in a press release that it decided to implement a “more modest, phased-in approach” in response to public meetings on fare increases held this May in Chester and Rocky Hill.
As outlined in the DOT news release, fares for passengers, including bicyclists, will double from $1 to $2 for each crossing beginning July 8. Vehicle fares will rise from $3 to $4 on the weekdays and from $3 to $5 on the weekends. A book of 20 coupon tickets will reach $50, up from the current price of $40.
When the ferries then open for the 2014 season, passenger fares will remain at $2, but the costs for cars and discount ticket books will both increase again. Weekday car fares will reach $5 and weekend car fares will reach $6. The 20-ticket discount book will cost $60.
“We are committed to maintaining the ferry operations serving residents, commuters, tourists, pedestrians and bicyclists alike. The ferries are an important part of the regional history and serve transportation, recreation and tourism roles,” DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker said in a written statement. “Fares have not been increased since 2003, while operational costs have been rising. Our initial proposal was to double existing fares, but the input we received at our public meetings supported a more modest, phased-in approach.”
At the May public meeting in Chester, a representative from the Hadlyme Public Hall Association presented a petition opposing the doubling of fares with 950 collected signatures. The Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, which represents 17 towns, also wrote a letter in May to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, along with a resolution requesting “a full evaluation of the economic indicators and cost benefit analysis of hours of service, fares and ridership” of the ferries.