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Commuters ‘disgusted’ at ferry service

The Resolute

Ferry commuters say they are still waiting for the Bermuda Government to deliver on its promises to correct a host of concerns over services.

Last July, Marine and Ports director Richard Russell acknowledged late arrivals and problems with air conditioning and bathrooms facilities, and said that Government was to purchase new generators to improve the situation as well as tackling staff issues.

However, Sallie DeSilva, a commuter on the Watford/Cavello ferry route, told this newspaper: “Nothing that Richard Russell pledged has come to fruition.

“Mr Russell stated in the article ‘a plan is afoot’ and ‘we have ordered three generators of higher output capacity’. Where are they? Why have they not been installed? Why are we still dealing with subpar equipment?”

Another commuter, Barbara King, said: “I am ashamed and disgusted with the state of the ferry service.”

A Facebook thread appeared online as commuters announced their disappointment. Among the complaints were that The Tempest smells like sewage with no air movement and is unable to keep to scheduled arrival times. The bathrooms were said to be out of order on The Serenity, with poor air conditioning and late arrivals.

Ms DeSilva said the service seldom arrives at Watford/Cavello on time which has left commuters turning up to work late.

She added: “This director’s promises and pledges — his word is no good with us the taxpaying public. We do not believe this is a Shawn Crockwell [Minister of Transport] issue although ultimately he has to answer to this. We do not believe it is a pilot/crew issue. We believe this is a management issue and they need to be held accountable.”

We sent specific questions to Mr Russell addressing some of the concerns raised. A spokeswoman for Marine and Ports responded: “Our records indicate that on the dates in question all air conditioning units and heads (toilets) were fully functional on The Tempest.

“The Serenity has been running steadily this summer and was last serviced on August 29, 2015. The Resolute, which was returned to service on Friday, September 4, did experience some overloading. This was due to the vessel being out of service for some time but the problem was resolved without withdrawing the vessel from service.

“In addition, the newly rebuilt engine was smoking due to paint burn-off and new lagging but nothing out of the ordinary for a newly installed engine. The crew were asked to monitor the engine closely. The Tempest has been in service since Tuesday and was fully functional which includes head and air conditioning.”