Commuters react to fares doubling on Connecticut ferries - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Commuters react to fares doubling on Connecticut ferries

? The Chester-Hadlyme Ferry pulls into dock Tuesday. ? The Chester-Hadlyme Ferry pulls into dock Tuesday.

Fees on the two Connecticut River ferries are slated to double by midsummer and commuters reacted to the news Tuesday. 

The Rocky Hill Glastonbury Ferry has been running since 1655 and is the oldest continuously running service in the country.

The Chester-Hadlyme Ferry has been crossing the Connecticut River since 1769 and the state took over the service in 1917.

Under a new proposed plan, the fares for commuters will increase from $3 to $6 while fees for bikers and walkers will increase from $1 to $2.

Commuter books will now cost $40 for 20 rides on either Connecticut ferry, which is double the cost from last year.

This will be the first time that fares have increased since 2003 and those increases were later dropped back to the present day rates, according to Connecticut Department of Transportation officials.

Public hearings on the possible fee increases are planned for May 20 at the Rocky Hill Community Center and May 22 at the Chester Meeting House. Both meetings, which will be held by DOT officials, are scheduled for 9 p.m.

"It's a sort of peaceful way to get around, instead of worrying about who's going to pull out in front of me all the time," said Sherry Block, of Hadlyme. "So I just come down here and sit and wait and relax."

The ferry does a fairly brisk business with both tourists and day trippers as well as regular commuters.

"You can't just double it up," said Serge Orzech, of Hadlyme. "It's tough for local people."

Last year, the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry took 37,811 vehicles and 6,290 pedestrians across the river, but had an operating deficit of $297,481.

According to the DOT website, the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry runs from April 1 until Nov. 30 while the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry runs from May 1 to Oct. 31.

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