(KETCHIKAN, Alaska) – The Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) is adding a sailing to Bellingham, Washington, on May 23 to provide transportation for a waitlist of passengers. The M/V Matanuska and its crew will make the run to pick up approximately 260 passengers, many with accompanying vehicles.
AMHS experiences an increase of demand for the Bellingham sailings in the spring as people traveling to Alaska return home, report to jobs, visit family, or move their households. AMHS anticipates the May 23 sailing will fill up quickly as there is no other mainline space available until late July on the Matanuska, and late August on the Kennicott.
When the summer schedule was developed, placeholders were included in each month for a planned resumption of Prince Rupert B.C. service. While AMHS ultimately scheduled Prince Rupert trips from June through September, the May placeholder was left unscheduled to allow time to finish up diplomatic agreements required for visiting the international port.
As a result of this schedule change, a few passengers in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Kake and Juneau will be rescheduled. The LeConte will cover the Matanuska’s May 23 sailing to Sitka.
The Matanuska can carry 450 passengers and has a vehicle capacity of 1,675 linear feet, which is equal to approximately 83 twenty-foot vehicles. There are 21 three-berth, 5 four-berth, and 79 two-berth cabins, as well as 1 wheelchair-accessible cabin.
AMHS is expecting a strong summer season as the economy picks up and people start to return to travel. AMHS Marketing experts are forecasting RV traffic will increase significantly this summer. High fuel prices may also increase ridership on the Marine Highway; the current 37% fuel surcharge on barge freight, makes the AMHS car deck fares a more economical alternative in many cases.
People interested in booking a sailing this summer are encouraged to call AMHS Reservations & Customer Service, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. AST, at 1(800) 642-0066 (toll free) or visit the AMHS website at http://ferryalaska.com.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 9 ferries serving 33 communities along 3,500 marine miles, over 5,600 miles of highway and 839 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”
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