Bahamas Fast Ferries Needs To Do More For Customers
The Bahamas Fast Ferries company has been in operation for a number of years and I am of the opinion that it has been reasonably successful financially. It has been of great assistance for passengers travelling to the Family Islands which it services and the communities of Eleuthera, Andros and Abaco in particular are very grateful for its existence.
However, it is widely believed that more can be done to accommodate passengers awaiting boarding at the various ports. For instance, at Spanish Wells, Current and Harbour Island there is no terminal where passengers can sit in comfort and wait for the arrival of the vessel. There are no toilet facilities, and, should there be rain or diverse weather, the passengers have nowhere to shelter.
This was especially evident on January 3 at Current for the hapless passengers on the Fast ferry “Sea Wind.” Departure time was given for 7:00pm and passengers began arriving at 6:00pm. In many instances passengers, were dropped off and their rides were not in a position to wait with them for the arrival of the vessel. Also, persons with cars for transport to Nassau were not prepared to leave and travel to settlements as far away as Savannah Sound, and then returning. Fortunately, this being one of the winter months there was not the invasion of sandflies and mosquitoes which regularly plague persons at the dock in the summer months. However, heavy draft was falling and some moles were exposed.
After no boat had arrived by 7:00pm questions were asked and information was received that the boat would not arrive until about 8:30pm. This time was changed on at least one occasion and the vessel did not eventually arrive in the Current until about 9:15pm and the passengers eventually arrived at their destination at 12:45am on January 4. The explanation given was that the vessel had lost an engine.
In the meantime passengers consisting of babies and toddlers, teenagers, pets, senior, citizens and other adults were left to wait at the terminal where the only shelter was a rustic building with uncomfortable wooden benches, (which incidentally were not provided by the company), and absolutely no toilet facilities besides the nearby brush. Also, in keeping with its excellent record in North Eleuthera, BEC contributed to the discomfort with at least three power cuts which also affected the oncoming vessel.
Surely it is time that the company provide some services for its passengers, at least comfortable seating and toilet facilities. They could also provide a concession area where refreshments can be sold. This is also a way to provide some employment in the form of persons to clean and sell and also to oversee the facility. I am looking forward to something being done by the company in 2011. Should I also dare hope for improvement to the road approaching the dock site?