Alaska Marine Highway System officials plan to close gift shops on board state ferries.
Transportation Department Deputy Commissioner Rueben Yost says the shutdown will save about $1 million a year.
“The gift shops are nice, but it’s not part of our core mission of moving people and vehicles from one point to another. And over time, it’s become increasingly expensive,” he says.
Yost discussed the change at this week’s meeting of the state’s Marine Transportation Advisory Board.
Five larger mainline ferries have full shops. The two small fast ferries have limited gift items in their food-service areas.
Yost says a few necessities will remain on sale.
“We will address the need for toiletries and other commodities people may have forgotten to bring on the vessel by selling them in the cafeteria,” he says.
Those items will eventually be sold from vending machines. Ferry hats, T-shirts and similar “branded” products will be available online.
Yost says the shops will be phased out over the summer as the inventory is sold.
“It does involve 10 positions on the marine highway system. But the cashiers working in the gift shop have seniority. So ultimately, … rather than 10 people losing their jobs, there will be 10 less new people hired this summer,” he says.
There’s no immediate plan for how the shop rooms will be used.
Yost says labor contracts prohibit leasing the space to private businesses.
- The Alaska Department of Corrections says Senate Bill 91 mandates expanded pre-trial services. Rumors that a Douglas office building could be part of the plan has neighbors alarmed and a state lawmaker demanding answers.
- The legislature ordered a study last year, looking at whether the state could save money by creating a new health care authority.
- It was two hours of incredible runs, incredible heartbreaks, and one avalanche.
- Alaska Congressman Don Young was at the White House Monday to see the president sign a bill that repeals an Obama administration rule known as “BLM Planning 2.0.”