Story last updated at 10/14/2009 - 1:37 pm
JUNEAU - For the second consecutive year, the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) released its summer sailing schedule early for its 11 vessels serving 32 ports between Bellingham, Wash., and Alaska.
"Everyone within the AMHS is very pleased to offer next summer's schedule in a timely fashion that opens the opportunity for possible, increased ridership next year," said Jim Beedle, Deputy Commissioner of Marine Operations for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
Beedle said that the AMHS remains very responsive to communities along its routes by routinely working with them to consider school and community events and activities when designing a schedule to meet the greatest number of needs. Additionally, the AMHS continues to strengthen its collaborative relationship with Gov. Sean Parnell's 11-member Marine Transportation Advisory Board (MTAB).
"This schedule is endorsed by MTAB and we've been successful at balancing efficient vessel deployment with fiscal responsibility," Beedle said. "We will continue to seek input from MTAB on schedule development with the outstanding working relationship with the MTAB."
In August, the Southeast Alaska community of Tenakee Springs sponsored an appreciation day there to praise the service levels the AMHS has provided in recent times.
"When an entire community hosts a festive gathering to say 'thank you', that's an indescribable feeling that tells us to press on and serve Alaskans as best we can," Beedle said.