September 17, 1997
(Works, Services and Transportation)

The following is being distributed at the request of Marine Atlantic:

Summer ferry traffic shows strong growth

Marine Atlantic ferries carried more than 247,000 passengers between Newfoundland and the mainland during the 12-week summer schedule which ended last Saturday. Both the Argentia and Port aux Basques routes showed substantial increases over the corresponding period a year earlier.

A total of 43,315 people rode the Joseph and Clara Smallwood to and from Argentia, a gain of 14 per cent from 1996. The Caribou and Smallwood together carried 204,068 passengers between North Sydney and Port aux Basques, representing five per cent growth from last summer. The total increase for both routes combined was 15,566 passengers.

"The Cabot 500 summer has been very successful for Marine Atlantic," says gulf service general manager Peter McInnis. "Our careful preparations paid off, and everything went exceptionally well."

Customer service surveys conducted on board the ferries throughout the season indicate high levels of satisfaction. Of the 521 passengers interviewed, 96 per cent responded positively about their overall Marine Atlantic experience.

"We believe the traffic statistics considerably understate the actual increase in visitors to the province this summer," Mr. McInnis said. "Although our reporting system doesn't capture the origin of our customers, it was very obvious that many thousands of Newfoundlanders stayed home this summer to enjoy the Cabot celebrations. I therefore believe our ships carried a higher proportion of visitors than ever before."

Contact: Ted Bartlett, Director Public Relations, (709) 772-5731 or (506) 851-3611.

1997 09 17 4:25 p.m.

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