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Thread: Bay Ferries suspends CAT

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  1. #1
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Bay Ferries suspends CAT

    Personally, I'd rather ride around, but I still hate to see it go.


    Plug pulled on CAT ferry



    Dec 18, 2009
    Bay Ferries Limited announced Friday that it will end its high-speed CAT ferry service between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Portland and Bar Harbor. The change takes effect in the spring of 2010.
    According to a press release, approximately 120 people will lose full or part-time employment as a result of this decision. The financial viability of the service has been impacted by reduced passenger traffic due to a series of factors including new US passport rules, a strong Canadian dollar and the weak economy in key US markets.

    Mark MacDonald, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bay Ferries Limited, communicated the news to affected employees at a staff meeting in Yarmouth this morning. Separate meetings were held in Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine.

    "This was an extremely difficult decision to make, particularly given there has been some form of ferry service out of Yarmouth since the 1800s," said Mark MacDonald, president and chief executive officer of Bay Ferries Limited. "Although Bay Ferries recognizes this is a sad day for our workers and the communities we serve in southwestern Nova Scotia and Maine, our company is not in a position to absorb the significant financial loss we would experience in the absence of government support."

    The ferry operated seasonally from late-May to October each year. MacDonald said the company had successfully operated the service for nine years without government support. The service has not been viable without government support for the past several years.

    "First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to our employees for their tireless efforts to provide safe and reliable transportation between Nova Scotia and Maine," added MacDonald. "I am sorry to be sharing this news just before the Christmas holidays, but I felt it was the right thing to do to communicate promptly with our employees once we had a clear picture of what support was available for 2010."

    More than 76,000 people traveled on the high speed service in 2009, a 10 per cent drop over 2008 figures when 85,000 people used the service. In stronger market conditions in the late 1990s and early 2000s, annual volumes ranged from 100,000-150,000. More than 1.5 million people have travelled with Bay Ferries between Yarmouth and Maine since 1997.

    "I would like to thank our customers for supporting the Yarmouth ferry services through the years," added MacDonald. "To our many friends, colleagues and partners in the travel, tourism and hospitality business, thank you for working with us in looking after the people travelling to and from Nova Scotia."

    Friday's announcement comes after the company was informed by the government of Nova Scotia earlier this week that government support would not be extended for the 2010 operating season.

    "Bay Ferries deeply appreciates the support it has received from the Nova Scotia government in many forms, as well as the support from communities on both sides of the Gulf of Maine, most importantly, Yarmouth, Bar Harbor and Portland," said MacDonald. "While there is no longer a viable private sector business case for our company to run ferry services out of Yarmouth without government support, we fully respect the right of the Nova Scotia government to make the decision it feels is best for the province."

    Bay Ferries Limited and its sister companies, Northumberland Ferries Limited and Bay Ferries Management Limited, will continue to operate year-round ferry service between Digby, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick, spring, summer and fall seasonal service between Caribou, Nova Scotia, and Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island. No decision has been made on the future of the actual CAT ferry vessel, the second one owned by Bay Ferries since 1998.


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  2. #2
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Sorry to learn the CAT has been clawed by the economy. I hate to see it go and have used it in the past. Taking the ferry meant more time to ride in Nova Scotia. And then there was the slot machines and the duty free shopping. The seats were comfy and perfect for a snooze. For a retired sailor, the CAT was heaven.

    Glad to see there are a couple of options left.

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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    Sorry to learn the CAT has been clawed by the economy. I hate to see it go and have used it in the past. Taking the ferry meant more time to ride in Nova Scotia. And then there was the slot machines and the duty free shopping. The seats were comfy and perfect for a snooze. For a retired sailor, the CAT was heaven.

    Glad to see there are a couple of options left.
    In a ship, you pay dearly for speed. To the first order, cost = speed x speed x speed. So, a 26% increase in speed corresponds to a doubling in cost. Accordingly, high speed ferry services usually have financial issues and often operate on the edge.

  4. #4
    Honey Badger Semper_Fi's Avatar
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    That is too bad, my wife and I took it several times, the boarding and deboarding crews were very efficient in loading the ship.

    We ride to NS now, but still sad to see it go - it was a great service, hopefully it can come back
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    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    I've looked into taking it three times in the past three years. Whether it saves you time or not depends on departure time, day of the week, and exactly where you are going.

    Each time it was faster and cheaper for me to ride around. Most recently, last September, it would have cost me $220 from Yarmouth to Portland and I would have arrived home (Braintree, MA) about three hours later than taking the boat. I rode the 750 miles instead, leaving the Peggy's Cove area about 10:30 AM and arriving home 12 hours later. (Yeah, I stopped only for fuel, and it was a nice ride.)

    As I said, I still hate to lose it. The first time I saw it was from Schoodic Peninsula and that thing was just boogieing across Frenchman Bay.
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  6. #6
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this. I used it on the return leg of a month long ride in ’04. I enjoyed the break from riding and the experience. I have to admit when I have pulled out maps to day dream plan another trip to the Maritime Provinces I have not thought of intentionally using it again. It was always on my lists of options in the event of …?... and if for no other reason than that I will miss it.
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    Registered User tourunigo's Avatar
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    whenever we travel we never take the CAT. I took it once to be the first motorcycle on for the first crossing a few years ago but that's it. Far too expensive for our taste. In fact, the two way trip will pay for our fuel to California and back. Two adults (sorta), one bike and a Uni-Go will cost us dearly. From Halifax it is 200 miles..... that gets me 1/3 of the way to Portland. As Tom points out, the schedule can be a bit difficult. Personally I liked the all nighter cruise out of Portland but I tend to be a bit of a romantic.

    I'm really more concerned about the economic ripple effect this will have in both Maine and Nova Scotia. I think a deal will come about though..... negotiations have begun so let's see. -Bob
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  8. #8
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    I recall booking it well ahead of time and the price was always way under $150 for motorcycle and rider.


    Will have to find a new scow for the Salty Fog Adventure! An ocean cruise was part of the adventure.


  9. #9
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    I recall booking it well ahead of time and the price was always way under $150 for motorcycle and rider.


    Will have to find a new scow for the Salty Fog Adventure! An ocean cruise was part of the adventure.

    Paul,

    Have you considered doing some trips in Scandinavia and northern Europe? You can take ferries across the North and Baltic seas. They aren't speedy, gas guzzling CAT's, but they'll get you there.

    Or, what about BC to Alaska?

  10. #10
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    Paul,

    Have you considered doing some trips in Scandinavia and northern Europe? You can take ferries across the North and Baltic seas. They aren't speedy, gas guzzling CAT's, but they'll get you there.

    Or, what about BC to Alaska?
    Now that sounds like fun. Would like for a great picture taking adventure.

  11. #11
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    I recall booking it well ahead of time and the price was always way under $150 for motorcycle and rider.
    September 2009 pricing was $180 for bike and rider to Bar Harbor and $220 to Portland.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

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  12. #12
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    I'm with Bob. I personally have never taken the CAT, though have taken the ferry from St John to Digby. I prefer to ride. But I can imagine how much losing the ferry would hurt Digby, and hope things work out for the small businesses dependent on tourist traffic at either end of the CAT run.

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