High speed ferry from Fall River officially announced
In an exclusive interview with The Block Island Times, Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan touted a new partnership with Interstate Navigation that will bring ferry passengers from Fall River to Newport and over to Block Island. The ferry will depart daily from the Fall River State Pier, next to Battleship Cove. The service is expected to start in 2014.
Flanagan spoke to the newspaper just moments before he was to give a press conference announcing the move on Monday afternoon.
“For the past year, we’ve been working with Interstate to implement high speed ferry service that’ll be starting in June,” said Flanagan. “We truly believe this service will attract people to Fall River — people north of Fall River from Boston and Providence.”
Flanagan cited two reasons for the move: convenience for summer travelers and an opportunity for his city to expand its tourism base.
“If you drive to Newport from Providence, it’s about an hour in the car and there’s a toll and parking is going to cost you $25,” Flanagan said. “If you are to take the high speed out of Fall River, you’ll be there [in Newport] in a lesser amount of time. You don’t have to take you car to Newport and the ferry has amenities for you.”
Flanagan also said “there’s no longer a need to drive to Pt. Judith” to pick up the ferry. He then recommended that visitors taking the ferry out of Fall River have breakfast in that city and then, upon returning from Newport or Block Island, eat at a Fall River restaurant or take in a show.
Flanagan said “everything is in place” in terms of the agreement with Interstate. When asked if he thought there might be any pushback from the people in Narragansett, Flanagan said he didn’t see why there would be.
“I’m advocating for my community,” said Flanagan, who is running for his third term this year. “My focus is Fall River and making this community the best place I can.”
According to Megan Moran, Director of Group Sales for Interstate Navigation, passengers will have the opportunity to take the ferry to Newport in the morning and disembark and spend the morning in Newport and take the afternoon ferry to Block Island, or simply stay on the ferry to Block Island.
She said Interstate was not adding any extra trips or capacity to its current schedule, but was rerouting an existing Point Judith to Newport route. The ferry docked in Point Judith overnight, and that first run to Newport did not take passengers.
She said the prospective schedule would be from June to September. “But no schedule has been set as of yet,” she said.