|Sailing still not smooth on sea-bridge |
JANELLE DE SOUZA Sunday, April 16 2017
Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan yesterday encouraged ticket holders of the inter-island ferry to remain calm. He also assured them that they would get where they were going... eventually.
“Every Easter the country suffers this problem – a big increase in demand for available seats. This year, however, we had some additional delays so we brought in the water taxi as a backup this time.” Sinanan said after the initial Easter weekend rush to get to Tobago, there were many empty seats on the vessels heading both ways.
The main issue, he said, was with the schedule. “I admit there were some challenges when it came to timing but, bar the delays, everyone will get where they are going and come back.” “We are doing the best we can with the vessels that we have. In the meantime, the new board intends to deal with that. In fact the board is working on it now and they are on top of the situation,” he said.
When Sunday Newsday visited the Port-of-Spain (PoS) Ferry Terminal on Wrightson Road yesterday the atmosphere was calm as passengers waited for the last two vessels for the day - the Galicia at 2 pm and the TT Spirit fast ferry at 4 pm. However, passenger Anson Webster said he had been waiting since 6.30 am for the 8.30 am sailing.
He said he was he was told the 8.30 am vessel would not sail until 11 am, so he went to the airport in the hopes of getting a confirmed ticket. Unfortunately, there were only standby tickets and by the time he returned to the terminal, he had missed the 11 am boat. He therefore bought a ticket for the Galicia’s 2 pm sailing. “It is a bit frustrating. I knew the boats were giving trouble but I didn’t think it would have been so bad today (Saturday),” he said.
Verma Lewis-Cockburn, manager, marketing and public relations of the Trinidad and Tobago Inter-Island Transportation Co, also noted that the water taxi, which usually runs from Portof- Spain to San Fernando, was recruited to assist the fast ferries, the TT Express and TT Spirit, by making one round trip on Friday, yesterday and today.
She said the water taxi was able to take up some of the 6.30 am passengers at the unscheduled time of 6 am and it was at full capacity.
However, she admitted that the 8.30 am sailing was delayed to 11 am, and the 4 pm sailing was also delayed.
She also advised that the 9.30 am sailing from PoS today was rescheduled to depart at 3 pm, and that passengers could be accommodated on the water taxi at 7 am.
“The sailings have been delayed and everything is running a bit late. Once a vessel comes in late they can’t just reach in and sail right out because of the international requirement for the crew’s rest. Everything runs eve