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Facing Rider Fury, Steamship Authority To Undergo Top-To-Bottom Audit

A 2015 photo of the vessel Martha's Vineyard. The ship lost power the night of Saturday, March 17, 2018, but the cause is still under investigation. Photo by Sharon Brody for WBUR

A 2015 photo of the vessel Martha’s Vineyard. The ship lost power the night of Saturday, March 17, 2018, but the cause is still under investigation. Photo by Sharon Brody for WBUR

After hundreds of ferry cancellations this year alone, the Steamship Authority has announced it’s planning to hire an outside firm to audit its entire operation.

The authority, which runs ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, detailed its plans at a meeting held on the Vineyard Tuesday night.

Mechanical problems have caused 549 cancellations this year alone on the line between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard. That compares to just 26 cancellations all of last year.

Walter Drolette runs an insulation company based in Bourne. He travels from the mainland to Martha’s Vineyard twice a week, to deliver supplies and oversee his workers.

In all the 35 years he’s been making the trip, Drolette says he’s never seen this kind of scheduling mess.

“We were doing a job last month and we couldn’t get guys over here, and then we couldn’t get guys off the island at the end of the day. So it was a nightmare,” he said.

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