Prudence Island Ferry has competition
Bruce Medley has some legitimate competition.
A local marine company has filed an application to take over ferry service from Prudence Island to Bristol - the first time since Mr. Medley took over the route with Prudence Island Ferry in the mid-80s.
A&R Marine, doing business as Prudence and Bay Islands Transport, filed its application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity with the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers Sept. 19.
The company is comprised of two Prudence Island residents, Ethan and Patricia Rossi; and two Richmond residents, Stephen and Daniel Antaya. They formed the corporation last month.
A&R Marine would need to prove that it is fit, willing and able to provide ferry service from Prudence Island to Bristol, as well as demonstrate a need for that service. If there is currently a ferry service in operation, A&R Marine would have to prove that the service provided by Mr. Medley is inadequate or would be in the future.
Michael McElroy, a representative of A&R Marine, highlighted Mr. Medley's public statement that Prudence Island Ferry would shut down Dec. 1 as reason to file.
"We're not going anywhere," Mr. Medley said. "I don't know why they think this. After the legislation to create an authority failed, I notified everyone that we were going to continue service."
Mr. Medley explained his reasoning for his cease-operations announcement was due to legislation proposed by State Rep. Ray Gallison this past spring, which would have created a Prudence Island Ferry Authority. The Authority would have exclusive rights to operate a ferry service to and from the island, with Bristol as the mainland dock. It would be comprised of three Portsmouth residents, and two Bristol residents, all elected by their respective town councils. The Authority would be given power to set ferry rates, as well as solicit bids for ferry services.
Prudence Island Ferry Inc., has been designated as a lifeline carrier, meaning under no circumstances would the company be able to cease operations. It is the only way for residents and visitors to the island to get to the mainland.
A public hearing has yet been scheduled and Mr. Medley plans to intervene as the process moves forward.