Yarmouth, Chebeague Island to evaluate ferry service

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YARMOUTH — Town Manager Nat Tupper and Superintendent of Schools Andrew Dolloff believe a new ferry schedule is working well for Chebeague Island students and Yarmouth residents.

But at least one person who lives near Cousins Island and the ferry dock believes otherwise.

As this school year draws to a close in mid-June, so will the first year of a change that let students who attend Yarmouth schools start and end school later. Yarmouth schools acted upon research school districts across the country are considering: that students function better when they have more sleep, and later school start times allow for that.

Two extra ferry trips were scheduled Monday through Friday so that island kids would not have to take the 6:40 a.m. boat and arrive earlier than needed for school.

So that adults could get to work on time, without too much waiting, the first ferry trip out was rolled back 10 minutes to 6:30 a.m. This meant the added 7:05 a.m departing ferry was mostly used by students.

An afternoon ferry brought them home, at new and later times, leaving from Yarmouth at 2:15 and 3:05 p.m., instead of 2:50 p.m.

On Chebeague Island, 24 students this year from grades 6-12 take a daily ferry ride from the island to the Cousin’s Island dock in Yarmouth. Yarmouth school buses pick up the students and bring them to class.

A meeting next week between Yarmouth town and school officials, the general manager of the Chebeague Transportation Co., and Yarmouth residents will review the one-year arrangement between the two towns.

The  7 p.m., May 23, meeting in the AMVETS Log Cabin building at 196 Main St. is aimed at reducing tensions between some residents who live near the ferry dock.

Several Yarmouth School Board members, including Chairwoman Leah Guay, support the new schedule.

But residents at a recent Yarmouth Town Council meeting, including one woman who lives on Pogy Shore Way, said the ferry schedule change was not innocuous.

More people are driving through the residential neighborhood, she said, and an extra school bus picks up the students from the nearby dock.

Councilor James MacLeod raised another issue that the Town Council may explore at some point: the need for another dock, where ferries from the island can pick up and drop off passengers, especially in a less congested residential neighborhood.

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster. net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.