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Changes in Passenger Ferry System


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#1 Carey

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 01:36 PM

I live on the island but don't take the ferry to the mainland all that often. I haven't been across since October but took a RT a couple of days ago and wanted to report some changes.

There is no ferry crossing from Playa to Cozumel at 2 PM or 4 PM right now and probably for the forseeable future. (If they don't have hourly afternoon service during high season, unlikely they'll add more service at slower times of the year.)

Secondly, they've become very strict about bags. Don't try to get on board with one of the larger rolling bags, the kind that will just barely fit in the overhead rack on the plane. The sailors are vigilantly taking these now. Probably this is partly because the ferries are fairly crowded thanks to them taking off two runs in the afternoon. So they don't want space taken up with the bags.

They'll give you a ticket and you'll get the bag back. Don't worry about that.

However, they've changed the system on the Cozumel end as well. Now all checked bags are loaded on a cart and moved 10 feet (!) to a circular conveyer belt where they're unloaded and sent around for you to pull them off. Three and four deep with people all the way around when I came in on the 3 PM Saturday ferry. Save your checked stub as the sailors are checking these before letting you out.

The other big change is on the Cozumel end when you're leaving to head to the mainland. Now you buy your ticket, continue walking straight ahead and hand your bags to another sailor and conveyer belt. Don't try to get by with a larger rolling bag. You might make it past the conveyer belt (as we did) but they stopped us at the gangplank and made us check it from there.

Once you check your bags and get your ticket, you take an escalator up to the second story waiting room area. There are bathrooms here and a nice view. When it's time to load, however, you have to go BACK down a long, somewhat steep set of steps to ground level and then out to the ferry.

Seems kind of insane to me that last part especially but forewarned is forearmed.
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#2 Valli

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 04:50 PM

Thanks for the update. My question is - if you have to go up, then go back down a steep set of stairs, what is the situation if you are disabled or have mobility issues?
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#3 Charles

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 04:50 PM

Changes and potential war against a new ferry competitor have only begun. In order to provide improved service during the high demand travel period of Semana Santa, the early ferry was cancelled. Besides creating problems for those traveling to the airport, this change seemed intended to affect those with travel plans to Merida, the first direct bus was timed to depart after arrival of the ferry. That change messed up countless people who had to delay their arrival plans to Cancun and especially those traveling to Merida. The fact that they could say this change was for "improved service" and say it with a straight face displays their professionalism.

If indeed there will be a third ferry company which will offer true competition, Aviomar is prepared to move their operation to the Langosta muelle and stop using the muelle fiscal. They are prepared to lower their prices to $25 pesos which they deem as below cost in order to kill off any possible success of true competition. They can afford to lose money and then simply raise their prices to cover their losses once the competition has been eliminated. The competing truck ferry of don Pepe lasted six weeks?

It was my understanding that they were starting to use the upstairs section as a point of entry/exit for cruise passengers who were boarding the "homeport" Pullman Tour ship. Discount prices were advertised (I don't know the price) for cruises this week and next weeks cruise. Most of their passengers are boarding in Progresso which was chosen as a primary "homeport" for this vessel. Mexicans or locals will have some sort of customs to pass through if not before departure, then after their return as the ship will visit two foreign ports.

I am sure one can expect a number of changes in the ferry service, I am sure all will be designed for "improved service" as seen during Semana Santa.
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#4 divadiver

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 05:23 PM

Valli,

There are elevators. Whether they are functioning, I don't know.

I guess the escalators weren't working when Carey went.

The Pullmantours ship comes into Punta Langosta
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#5 Valli

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 07:45 PM

Thanks for responding to my inquiry, Diva. I wasn't asking on my behalf, but I do know people who take the ferries that could have some problems if they need to use steep stairs. Just doesn't make sense.
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#6 Carey

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 08:46 PM

I guess the escalators weren't working when Carey went.

The Pullmantours ship comes into Punta Langosta


The escalator was working fine, Diva. The problem was there was only one escalator -- the one that goes up. To get back down to board there is only a staircase. I'm sure special needs folks could be accommodated by just taking them through downstairs the way they used to.
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