Director of the Montserrat Arts Council Kenneth “Rabo” Silcott welcomed the announcement of new concessionary fares for the ferry service, which he believes will benefit the promotion of the island’s culture.
On Monday, the Government announced it had approved a new structure of fares for the Montserrat Ferry Service for ferry travel between Montserrat and Antigua, which will be implemented from Tuesday October 1, 2019.
Access Division head Ashley Lindsey has been spearheading the negotiation to introduce a more attractive ferry fares structure to bolster Montserrat’s tourism numbers as well as appease the many community groups who have been calling for a revision.
In late 2016, when the government engaged the ferry company which manages the Jaden Sun to service the Montserrat Antigua route, they also removed any special fares or free tickets which local sports, religious and cultural groups used to host and participate in regional activities as per its agreement with DFID, which funds access.
“Our local groups are being regularly invited to participate in events on Antigua and other islands. The savings will alleviate some of the financial burden for troupes, bands and groups traveling to and from Montserrat,” the MAC director said. “It is a great initiative.”
The base fare for a return trip between Montserrat and Antigua remains the same at $300.00 for Adults (13 years and over); the Child Fare (3-12 years) is $150.00; and Infant (0-2 years) is $50.00.
The fare for a one-way ticket has been increased by $10 to $160.00; and the day trip return fare is $150.00 on day tours operation days (currently Tuesday and Friday) Montserrat to Antigua return or Antigua to Montserrat return.
The ‘Ferry Fares, Concessions and Cargo Rates Policy’ also introduces a special fare of $200.00 (return) on weekend travel. However, 30-day advanced booking is required and it is subject to a 50% cancellation or change penalty.
Discounted fares will apply to the following categories:
- Block bookings – 10% discount on the purchase of 10 tickets. The tickets will be valid for 12 months from the date of purchase;
- Sports Teams/Sportsmanship and Cultural Groups – 50% discount on the base fare for registered/approved teams/clubs travelling from or to Montserrat;
- Exchange Training and Development Programmes – 50% discount on (MNI-ANU) base fare for approved exchange training and development programmes;
- National Representation Discounts – 50% discount on base fare for registered/approved national teams (sports, debating, calypso monarch) travelling to represent Montserrat overseas;
- Recognized Group Operators – ‘School Groups’ will receive 20% discount on day trip fare of $150 for school children ages 13 and above, and 50% discount for children aged 3-12. There will also be a 50% Discount for each Teacher/Parent/Chaperone per three (3) students.
- Recognized Group Operators – ‘Other Groups’ such as tour operators, religious organisations, youth and community groups will benefit from the following concessions: 10% discount for groups of 5 to 9 passengers; 15% discount for 10 to 19 passengers; 25% discount for 20 to 29 passengers; 40% discount for 30 to 39 passengers and 50% discount for groups of 40 or more passengers.
- Other discounts – 80% discount on the base adult fare for a passenger acting as a carer/escort, and accompanying a passenger certified with a mental or physical disability or other factors determined by the Government of Montserrat.
The policy also provides for cancellation and change conditions. There is a cancellation or refund fee of $50.00; a date change fee of $25.00; name change fee of $25.00 and ticket transfer fee of $25.00.
Further, the policy reinforces the existing baggage allowance and cargo fees:
- Baggage Allowance of two suitcases, with a third suitcase or additional baggage at $50each and unaccompanied baggage will be charged at a cost of $50 per case.
- Cargo –Mail and Small package will attract a fee of $20; Agricultural products will be charged at a rate of $1 per cubic feet and other cargo will be costed at a rate of $5 per cubic feet.
The public is however asked to note that terms and conditions will apply to the concessions. No concession fare, other than the disability concession, would be applicable during peak periods: March 1 to 21 (St Patrick’s Festival), and; December 15 to January 15 (Year-end Festival). The group discounts require advanced booking of at least 14 days, will be non-transferable and subject to the cancellation (refund) fee. All concession fares are subject to the availability of seats.