Ferry Consolidation Hurts Carteret County Captains

Small ferry operators in Carteret County say they are nervous a National Park Service plan to consolidate ferries to an isolated island to one company may put them out of business.

The Daily News of Jacksonville reports (http://bit.ly/182K4ji ) the Park Service is reviewing bids to award one contract for passenger ferry service to Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks. The islands are part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore and only accessible by boat.

Currently eight passenger ferry services are authorized to make the trip. One of them is Bill Downum, who says the ferries make up more than three-quarters of his business at Crystal Coast Ferry Service. He says he didn't bid for the new contract because he didn't have the $1.5 million in backing required.

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