All Aboard: Ferry Service Bids to Open April 30

Dennis Gonzales (left), a marine engineer and mechanic is shown discussing repairs with Professional Fisherman Ernie Sordillo (right) on board his fishing boat, KARMA, which is docked at the Cottage Park Yacht Club. Sordillo has been fishing and chartering his boat for just that reason off the waters of Winthrop for 30 years. His fishing boat is a 31 foot Blue Hills Marine. For information about chartering his boat to fish for bass, tuna and blue fish, Sordillo can be reached by phone at 617-771-4508 or online at: [email protected].

The success and popularity of the first two years of ferry service to Boston from Winthrop Public Landing, has the town of Winthrop exploring the possibility of initiating year-round service, as well as the feasibility of procuring a town-owned vessel to provide service into the future.

According to Winthrop Grants Administrator Peter Lombardi, the Request for Service procurement for privately managed ferry service for Winthrop was posted on April 9 and the proposal process closes on April 30, at which the time the town will have the ability to review the proposals and make a determination of which proposal is most beneficial to the town.

“It is not a straight lowest cost bid process,” explained Lombardi. “The town will have the right to assess the proposals and make a determination which proposal is the most advantageous for the town. . .the RFS asks for things like schedules, rate tables and operational plans from the carriers.”

Lombardi also said that the town officials had also asked for proposals to provide plans for both seasonal (130-150 days per year) and year-round ferry service for commuters.

“So we’ll have flexibility with what kind of service we are able to offer, based on the proposals and what makes the most sense for the town.”

Lastly, the town is continuing its investigation of the feasibility of procuring a vessel it could use for a town managed ferry service, which could be a public-private partnership with a contractor providing ferry boat crews and operating the service, while sharing proceeds with the town.

“We’re at the very beginning of the process to look at procuring a vessel,” added Lombardi. “The proposal has passed the MBTA review process and the town is working with the FTA (Federal Transportation Agency), in the next steps of that process.”

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