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
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
-- (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.