Updated 3/26/2020

Casco Bay Lines Announces Additional Changes to Service Schedule in Response to COVID-19

On Wednesday afternoon, March 25, 2020, Casco Bay Island Transit District announced that service will be further reduced beginning on Saturday, March 28, 2020.

On Thursday, March 26, 2020, CBITD revised the schedule to now include a new 4:45 AM departure from Portland to Peaks Island and a new 5:00 AM departure from Peaks Island to Portland.

The amended schedule, with this update, can be viewed here, has been posted on our website and on the vessels, and is available in the terminal. These additional, temporary reductions are being made in light of the need to expand protections for the health and safety of our employees, riders, islanders, and our communities, and recent declines in ridership. The schedule provides continuity of essential passenger and vehicle service.

This decision follows an initial reduction in service that went into effect on March 21, 2020, detailed below under “Casco Bay Lines Temporarily Reduces Service in Response to COVID-19” . The additional reduction allows CBITD to further minimize COVID-19 exposure for as many of our staff as possible, cutting the number of necessary marine crew approximately in half from what is being used under the current, reduced schedule. This also preserves the availability of non-active crew members to sustain service should others test positive for COVID-19, thereby decreasing the likelihood of a suspension of all service.

As the Governor and the City of Portland work quickly to take additional steps to protect public health, it is critical that we do our part to limit exposure. The ridership numbers have declined dramatically, which should allow those who are utilizing the ferry for essential travel to practice physical distancing.

Limited freight service will remain available. Only one Freight Agent will be on duty at any given time. Consequently, there may be delays in any freight that requires extra handling (i.e. forklift, assistance unloading). Additionally, large commercial deliveries (pallets, lifts of lumber, etc) will only be shipped on the 12:00 pm Downbay trip from Portland. Perishables and small personal items will continue to be shipped as soon as possible.

CBITD continues to monitor and make operational changes as necessary in response to COVID-19. The previous decision to cancel all on-site committee and public meetings has been extended through the end of April, total ridership on board each vessel has been limited and will continue to include only regular service. The sale of all specialty cruise tickets has been halted. In addition to expanded sanitation efforts, all regular service passengers are encouraged to practice physical distancing and are being asked to rip their own tickets and place in a collection receptacle prior to boarding the vessel until further notice. Ticket and freight point of sales will be accepting credit cards only.

Customers are encouraged to review the City of Portland’s Stay at Home Emergency Order and limit their use of our ferries to essential travel only. Future additional changes or further temporary reductions in service remain a possibility. Suspension of all service would occur only in the event there is insufficient crew available to meet required Coast Guard regulations.

We are grateful to our staff who remain deeply dedicated to the CBITD island communities and are working diligently to uphold our mission to provide essential transit service.

Français
En raison de la COVID-19, la compagnie Casco Bay Lines annonce des changements supplémentaires dans les horaires de ses navettes.

Español
Casco Bay Lines anuncia cambios adicionales en el horario de servicios en respuesta al COVID-19

 

Notice: Special Executive Committee meetings to be held weekly via conference call

To monitor the status of CBITD operations during COVID-19, Casco Bay Island Transit District’s Executive Committee will hold weekly meetings via conference call only every Thursday through April 30, 2020, with the first meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 26, at 7:45 AM.

All public comments sent to moc.s1585816070enily1585816070abocs1585816070ac@tn1585816070emmoc1585816070 received before 6:45 AM on the morning of a meeting will be shared with the Committee for consideration.

Meeting information can be found on the CBITD website calendar.  Please check the calendar frequently for any updates or changes to scheduled meetings or dial-in information.

 

Casco Bay Lines Temporarily Reduces Service in Response to COVID-19

Casco Bay Island Transit District announced a temporary reduction in service that will be in effect March 21- 27, 2020.

The amended schedule can be viewed here, has been posted on the schedule page of the website and on the vessels, and is available in the terminal. The schedule considers recent ridership data and allows for continuation of passenger and vehicle service during morning and afternoon peak times, as well as during midday hours.

This decision, while not taken lightly, was driven by CBITD’s desire to continue to protect the health and safety of our employees, riders, islanders, and our communities while planning for continuity of operations.

Reducing the level of service will allow CBITD to minimize COVID-19 exposure for as many of our crew members and shoreside staff as possible which is critical as we seek to do our part in flattening the curve of community spread.

Our entire team remains deeply dedicated to the island communities we serve which depend on us for access to the mainland, and we will continue to work diligently to uphold our mission to provide this service. Under this amended schedule, Peaks and Down Bay/Inner Bay service can each be provided by one boat crew, respectively, per day. A crew will work for a two-week period in an effort to preserve the availability of non-active crew members to sustain service should others test positive for COVID-19, thereby decreasing the likelihood of a suspension of all service.

In addition to the marine crew reduction, shoreside staffing will change beginning March 21. Only one Freight Agent will be on duty at any given time. Consequently, there may be delays in any freight that requires extra handling (i.e. forklift, assistance unloading). Additionally, large commercial deliveries (pallets, lifts of lumber, etc) will only be shipped on the 12:00 pm Downbay trip from Portland. Perishables and small personal items will continue to be shipped as soon as possible.

The schedule reduction represents the latest operational change made in response to COVID-19. All committee and public meetings have been canceled through the end of the month of March, total ridership on board each vessel has been limited and will include only regular service. The sale of all specialty cruise tickets has been halted. In addition to expanded sanitation efforts, all regular service passengers are encouraged to practice social distancing and are being asked to rip their own tickets and place in a collection receptacle prior to boarding the vessel until further notice. Passengers are encouraged to limit their use of our ferries to essential travel only.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly, customers should be prepared for future additional changes or further temporary reductions in service. Suspension of all service would occur only in the event there is insufficient crew available to meet required Coast Guard regulations.

Notices related to COVID-19 will continue to be posted here on our website, in the terminal, on the vessels and sent to our enewsletter list.

Français
La compagnie Casco Bay Lines réduit temporairement le nombre de ses navettes en raison de la COVID-19

Español
Casco Bay Lines reduce temporalmente el servicio en respuesta al COVID-19

 

CBITD Special Meeting of Board of Directors

During a Special Meeting of the Board of Directors on Thursday, March 19, the Casco Bay Island Transit District Board of Directors voted unanimously to delegate temporary authority to the General Manager and the President of the Board to manage operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution represents the latest effort by CBITD to protect the health and safety of the District’s employees, riders, and islanders, and to prepare for any future emergency responses necessitated by the evolving COVID-19 outbreak while continuing to provide as much service to and from the islands as possible.

The resolution also stipulates that temporary suspension of all service shall occur only in the event there is insufficient crew available to meet required Coast Guard regulations and delegates this emergency authority until another Board meeting is called. The Board also requested that they be alerted of any operational changes and have called for a weekly Executive Committee meeting to continue to monitor the situation.

Notice of any temporary changes to the sailing schedule, hours of operation of the terminal, or other operational changes made in response to COVID-19 will be posted here on our website, in the terminal, on the vessels and sent to our enewsletter list.

Information about CBITD’s ongoing efforts related to COVID-19 can be found below.

 

CBITD COVID-19 Response 

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. As this continues to evolve, please know that the health and safety of our passengers and employees remains our number one priority.

Casco Bay Lines is taking guidance from the Cumberland County Public Health District and Maine Centers for Disease Control on any operational changes that may be required due to the spread of the COVID-19. While no specific changes for public transit agencies have been recommended at this time, we have instructed our terminal and vessel personnel to routinely wipe down high touch surfaces as part of our ongoing regular cleaning schedules. Extra hand sanitizer dispensers and information materials have been deployed in the terminal and on our vessels for our customers to use while traveling with us. We are well-stocked with cleaning supplies and have provided our staff with education and support related to COVID-19 including proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette. We are also requiring that any sick employees remain home from work.

In keeping with social distancing recommendations, we have implemented the following:

  • All committee and public meetings have been canceled through the end of the month of April. This includes our March 26th Board meeting.
  • Effective March 14, 2020, the maximum capacity on board each vessel cannot exceed more than 250 passengers.
  • Operations will include only regular service. The sale of all specialty cruisetickets has been halted through the end of the month of April. Full refunds will be issued for any pre-purchased specialty cruise tickets.
  • All regular service passengers will be asked to rip their own tickets and place in a collection receptacle prior to boarding the vessel until further notice.
  • Customers are encouraged to limit use of Casco Bay Lines to essential travel.
  • Ticket and freight sales will be accepting credit card payment only.
  • We have made no other changes to our regular schedules or operations at this time. We will continue to operate unless and until we are completely unable to do so. As this evolves daily, we encourage customers to prepare for potential future operational changes, including some reductions in regular service.

We will also be looking to our passengers to assist in our efforts. In addition to taking the personal health preparedness steps that have been widely circulating in the news – wash your hands, don’t touch your face, cover coughs and sneezes –  we encourage passengers to follow health officials’ recommendations for social distancing when possible while visiting our terminal or riding the ferry. There are several options for ferry riders to maintain a healthy amount of separation from fellow passengers:

  • Customers can opt to stay in their vehicles if they drive on the car ferry.
  • Ferry boats are much larger vessels than most other forms of transit, which gives passengers more opportunity to keep some distance between each other.
  • Restrooms with running water and hand soap are available on all vessels, unlike many other forms of public transit. Riders are encouraged to use these facilities.
  • If travel is necessary, passengers should consider traveling outside of the morning and afternoon commutes when the largest number of passengers travel.
  • If you feel ill or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider and avoid traveling if possible.

Casco Bay Lines continues to work closely with the Cumberland District Public Health Liaison, the Maine Center for Disease Control and other state and local agencies to help protect the public and our employees.

Casco Bay Island Transit District’s Board President called a Special Meeting of the Board of Directors for Thursday, March 19, at 7:30 AM via conference call.

The purpose of the meeting was for the Board to consider a Motion to delegate temporary authority to the General Manager and the President of the Board to manage operations during the coronavirus pandemic to protect the health and safety of the District’s employees, riders, and islanders, and to continue to maintain service to and from the islands as much as possible.

Specifically, the Board considered the following proposed resolution to prepare for any future emergency responses necessitated by the evolving COVID-19 outbreak:

RESOLVED:  To protect the health and safety of Casco Bay Island Transit District employees, riders, and islanders, and to continue to provide as much service to and from the islands as possible, the General Manager of the District and the President of the Board jointly are authorized to make any such temporary changes to the sailing schedule, hours of operation of the terminal, staffing levels, and the collection of fares, including but not limited to, temporary reduction, restructuring, or suspension of service and temporary reduction in terminal hours (including closing) as they deem reasonable and appropriate in response to the coronavirus pandemic; provided that temporary suspension of service shall occur only in the event there is insufficient crew available to meet required Coast Guard regulations and provided further that the public shall be provided as much notice as possible of any change in service. This delegation authority shall continue until the next Board meeting.

Members of the public were not be able to participate directly in the call but were encouraged to send comments to moc.s1585816070enily1585816070abocs1585816070ac@tn1585816070emmoc1585816070. All comments received before 6:30 AM on Thursday, March 19, 2020, were shared with the Board prior to their consideration of the resolution.

Below are resources made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Website

What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 – CDC

What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019 – CDC

Share facts about COVID-19 – CDC

Should circumstances change, we will provide updates to this page and alert our passengers using our Facebook page and our enewsletter list. We value this community and thank you all for your cooperation in this effort.

Updates will be shared regularly.