Superferry speeds return to service
Service scheduled to return Monday
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The Hawaii Superferry will begin offering its Oahu-Maui service on Monday, nearly two weeks earlier than had been expected.
"We are very excited to start this service again, and I know we've got a lot of customers that are really anticipating (the Superferry's return)," said Terry O'Halloran, the Superferry's director of business development.
The Superferry is offering $39 one-way passenger fare and $55 one-way vehicle fare specials through June 5. Reservations can be made online at www.hawaiisuperferry.com or by calling (877) 443-3779 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
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Hawaii Superferry will restart its Oahu-Maui service Monday, about two weeks earlier than expected.
The company is taking reservations for Monday and is offering one round trip a day.
Terry O'Halloran, the Superferry's director of business development, said the repairs that kept the ship out of service since Feb. 13 have gone smoothly.
"The ship is in great shape," he said. "Our staff and crew are very excited to start this service again."
The high-speed Alakai was taken out of commission for repairs to the rudder and for its annual Coast Guard certification. Additional repairs were needed when the ship was damaged while going into dry dock. In March the repair schedule was extended to April 23.
The Coast Guard finished inspections and sea trials on the Alakai on Wednesday.
O'Halloran said the Alakai's sudden return to service was unrelated to the closure of Aloha Airlines this week. "We've been working to get the ship into service as soon as we could. That's always been our goal, and it's really unfortunate for Hawaii to see a company like Aloha Airlines (fail)."
Christina Wilson of Keanae, Maui, welcomed back the service yesterday but said she is hesitant to bring her vehicle aboard after she was stranded on Oahu in December because bad weather forced the Superferry to stay in port.
Her son-in-law, however, is planning to use the ferry for his family and vehicle in June for a Maui vacation. "He's so excited," Wilson said.
Some farmers and produce distributors said they have been reluctant to use the ferry because of service interruptions due to weather. In December and January the Superferry did not operate for at least 11 days because of the weather.
"Right now it's too unpredictable," said Juanita Kawamoto, managing partner of Fresh from the Farm, an online distributor of local produce. The company ships produce from the Big Island, Maui and Kauai to Oahu.
The Superferry has been hit with troubles since it started sailing in August. It sailed briefly before protesters on Kauai and a court order on Maui blocked its service.
On Dec. 13 the company restarted service when the state gave approval to the ferry to operate. Company officials have said a second daily trip to Maui is expected this spring, while service to Kauai has not been scheduled.