Historic Mon ferryboat might be making last trip between Fayette, Washington
A 200-year-old ferryboat that crisscrosses the Monongahela River may soon make its last trip between Fayette and Washington counties.
Fayette County commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to cease operating the Fredericktown Ferry on Sept. 3, and Washington County has no interest in running it without Fayette's help, according to one of its commissioners.
The ferry shuttles pedestrians and vehicles. The two-minute trip costs 50 cents for pedestrians and $2 per car, with higher rates for trucks and larger vehicles.
Fayette and Washington counties have shared costs to run the ferry, with Fayette taking on the added expense of employing riverboat pilots and managing operations.
Fayette Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky proposed withdrawing Fayette's support of the ferry because ridership numbers have dropped by more than half since a bridge over the Monongahela River opened last year.
The ferry went from generating $91,063 in fares in 2009 to $38,219 in 2012, according to Controller Sean Lally. It posted a $44,678 loss in 2012, and the two counties contributed a combined $155,112 toward its $238,009 operating expenses in 2012.
“With the cost of operating this, clearly, we're losing money,” Zapotosky said. “We can't keep operating it with these losses.”
Zapotosky and Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said they contacted Washington County commissioners for their input but got no response before the meeting.
Washington County Commissioner Chairman Larry Maggi said in an email on Thursday that Washington County has no intention of operating the ferry on its own.
“Since Fayette County is the lead county on operating the ferry, we were waiting until they made their decision,” Maggi wrote. “As of now, we do not have any plans on operating the ferry without Fayette County's help.”
In the event Washington County wants to take over the boat's operations, commissioners left in place an earlier resolution that allowed for the use of a $970,000 federal grant to renovate the ferry.
Zapotosky said Fayette would not be interested in helping with a 20 percent match to the grant should it be used for renovations that have been estimated between $400,000 and $1 million.
The ferry runs from 6:15 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. weekdays and 6:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Saturdays.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- For some, Dunbar Community Fest is a ‘homecoming’
- Volunteer program circles around poverty problem in Connellsville
- Connellsville tech center names homecoming queen
- Evening of fun and games helps to fund foundation
- Frazier School Board chews over possibilities for Central Elementary
- War display planned during Dunbar Fest
- Central Fellowship Church, Connellsville, pastor retires after 31 years
- Perry Township’s Layton Bridge will close for repairs
- Sheetz expansion project given OK by city zoning board
- Uniontown woman charged in robbery spree
- Fayette union protests contract woes