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Business plans new ferry to Block Island

July 12, 2013

Charles Donadio, above, christens the most recent addition, the Ava Pearl, in his fleet in 2012. The Narragansett resident is seeking to establish a new route to Block Island from his dock in Quonset. (Standard Times file photo)

NORTH KINGSTOWN—Block Island may be the destination for a new fast ferry this summer, and its departure point will come from farther afield than Galilee or Newport. Rhode Island Fast Ferry announced last week that it would be launching a new route between Quonset and Block Island, scheduled to begin operating as early as next summer.

Charles Donadio, Jr., owner of Rhode Island Fast Ferry, has already applied with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (DPUC) to run the new route, and hopes to draw more residents and visitors to a less crowded disembarkation site than in Galilee during the summer months.
“The service will create a new market,” said Donadio. “We’ll attract Rhode Islanders that would most likely decide to visit the island more frequently than driving through beach traffic in Galilee. if you live in East Greenwich or Providence, you could skip down to Quonset very quickly.”
The DPUC will hold public hearings in the coming months regarding the potential route and, if his application is approved, Donadio will begin service right away.
The Narragansett resident highlighted such a route’s benefits. Ideally, visitors to Block Island via the new Quonset fast ferry route will be able to enjoy a less expensive and stressful experience, as well as keep more cars off the road. Greater access to other forms of transportation will be beneficial as well, he noted.
“Departing from here, you will spend more time relaxing,” said Donadio. “On the weekends, [Route 403] is completely empty, and it ends on our dock.”
“I have all the intermodal connections already in place, [such as] airport shuttles, Amtrak shuttles meeting every departure and arrival,” he added.
“Everything is seamlessly put together. In Galilee, you are grabbing a cab, and it takes a long time to get to the airport in the summertime.”
The ferry will run between two to four round trips daily, lasting approximately 45 to 50 minutes from Quonset to Block Island. Donadio stated that he is currently investing and searching for a new fast ferry to use for the route, already having two vessels which services routes to Martha’s Vineyard and the popular lighthouse cruise program.

For the rest of this story and more local news, pick u the July 11 issue of the Standard Times.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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