By: Chelsea Priest
Southern New Englanders will have another port to catch a ferry to Block Island starting next summer. Fall River announced Monday that a daily round-trip service will begin in June.
Mayor William Flanagan explains, "This will be the only type of service offered in Massachusetts and it's right here in Fall River. No other city or town but Fall River will now provide fast ferry service to Newport as well as Block Island."
The Interstate Navigation Company runs the year round ferry from Pt. Judith to Block Island. This year they began the ferry route to Block Island with The Islander. Starting next summer The Islander's route will expand to Fall River. Joshua Linda, president of the Interstate Navigation Company says, "we've been in discussion with Mayor Flanagan since last year about possibly doing a ferry service. We think it will be a great benefit to the people of Fall River and Southeastern MA."
Another local company, The Rhode Island Fast Ferry, has applied to run it's own service from Quonset to Block Island. Their application has been objected by Interstate Navigation.
Charles A Donadio Jr. is the owner and president of Rhode Island Fast Ferry. He says, "this is your typical monopoly mindset, no one else can actually come in with a service but they can control everything."
The new service from Fall River will tap into a market of passengers Donadio has been fighting for. "I've been saying that there is a market for Southeastern MA, Southeastern and Northern Rhode Island, and they're saying there is no market, and here they are, going right into Massachusetts."
Public hearings for the Rhode Island Fast Ferry from Quonset to Block Island being in April.
As for the new Fall River Ferry, a daily round trip voyage is planned for next summer. It will take about 50 minutes from Fall River to Newport then another hour from Newport to Block Island.