Prudence Island Ferry service ends

By Dana Griffin

dgriffin@abc6.com

@DanaRGriffin

BRISTOL, RI- There’s champagne for what may seem like a celebration- but it’s not.

Sunday was the last trip to Prudence Island for the sole–ferry service that’s been in operation since the 80’s.

Carol Teague lives on the island. She said, “I’m sad that the people that we’ve dealt with for years, you know, we won’t be seeing them anymore. And hopefully the new carrier will treat us with respect and we will work out fine.”

A and R Marine is taking over. The company won the right to operate back in February.

Prudence Island Ferry sought a court order to block its competition, but it didn’t work. The town of Bristol wouldn’t renew its lease.

“That’s politics and I’m not into politics so I won’t talk to you a bit about that,” said Buzz Rice.

The biggest concern for island residents is getting cars back and forth. While A and R Marine gets up and running– it’ll be a couple weeks before they can transport cars.

Rosemary and Stephen Beers were on one of Sunday’s ferry rides. They said, “We most definitely had time to prepare. And [the] new service organization has kept us pretty well-informed as to where they are and what the progress is and what to expect.”

“We’ll miss the guys here. They’ve always been very accommodating.”

One of those guys is Ritchie Matthews. He’s been a deckhand for seven years.

Richie Matthews said, “We see everybody every day-six in the morning; whether they’re having a good day or a bad day. We pick them up, we bring them home.”

Matthews calls the end in Bristol bittersweet because the company will move on.

“I believe we’ll be leaving for Fall River, Massachusetts near the battleship. We’ll do that sometime during the day Monday.”

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