Ferry rates increase, fuel prices cited

Those traveling across Lake Champlain by ferry will now see a slight increase in the cost to visit the Green Mountain State. Lake Champlain Transportation, which owns and operates eight ferries along the lake which divides New York and Vermont, raised rates effective Jan. 25. Heather Stewart, the companys transportation manager, stated the increase was necessary to accommodate rising fuel prices over the past year. Ms. Stewart estimated the private business is spending $1.20 more per gallon for fuel than last year. With thousands and thousands of gallons of fuel used each year, that amount adds up. We didnt want to raise rates and we held off as long as we could, said Ms. Stewart. With fuel costs up dramatically this last year, we had no choice. Rates for ferry-travelers have increased across the board, but remain modest, noted Ms. Stewart. The one-way cost for a motorist and vehicle has risen from $9 to $9.50, and adult passengers will now pay $3.75, up 25 cents from last year. Travelers can still purchase commuter books, which are books of 20 discounted one-way tickets. The prices of each book vary, depending on the amount of people being paid for, and if the book is for a motorist or pedestrian. The books are good at any Lake Champlain Ferries crossing, which include the Plattsburgh to Grand Isle, Vt., ferry; Essex to Charlotte, Vt., ferry; and Port Kent, to Burlington, Vt., ferry, though that ferry does not operate this time of year. The seasonal Port Kent-Burlington ferry resumes operation in May. Despite the necessary increase, Ms. Stewart said she hopes customers continue to support a valuable service to the two states one that operates around the clock. When you go to bed tonight, were running. When you get up in the night to get a glass of water, were running. When you get up in the morning and get ready for work, were running. When youre at your job all day, were running, Ms. Stewart said. Its pretty impressive dedication on the part of the employees and a good link between upstate New York and Vermont. A complete listing of rates, schedules for crossings and other travel information may be found on the companys Web site, www.ferries.com .

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