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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Emergency meeting will address lack of space on ferries for Vieques residents

Vieques residents say they have endured waits of over five hours at the ferry terminal in Ceiba due to a lack of available tickets.

By The Star Staff

Vieques Mayor José “Junito” Corcino Acevedo, along with New Progressive Party (NPP) House Minority Leader Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez and the senator for the District of Carolina, Marisa “Marissita” Jiménez Santoni, said over the weekend that they will be convening an emergency meeting with the company HMS Ferries and the Integrated Transportation Authority (ATI by its Spanish initials) to address the lack of seating space on the ferries that service the offshore island municipality.

“It’s disrespectful, it just is,” Corcino Acevedo said. “Tickets for Vieques have to be available first and all the time. It is not fair for our people to wait hours. I am calling an emergency meeting to investigate and take corrective action so that it does not happen again that residents do not get return tickets after they leave the island; the past cannot happen again.”

“Leave the explanations for others. We do not accept that Vieques residents have to wait five or eight hours to return to their homes,” the mayor added. “We are going to have that meeting with the HMS company and ATI personnel as a matter of urgency and from there we are going to outline a plan that is to be implemented immediately to resolve this crisis.”

The mayor’s statements arose after a group of Vieques residents, starting Friday, had denounced waits at the ferry terminal that exceed five hours due to the lack of tickets.

According to the agreement with HMS Ferries, each daily trip -- both round trips -- must have 35 tickets reserved for Vieques residents. But because it is a long weekend, the number of passengers increases considerably.

Likewise, Corcino Acevedo said he would be discussing with ATI and the directors of the authority for the redevelopment of the former naval base at Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba the idea of identifying an area for parking near the boat terminal and thus create a municipal company between Vieques and Culebra, to reduce prices and raise funds for municipal coffers. Currently the private company charges around $20 for leaving a vehicle 24 hours.

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