JUNEAU (AP) -- Ridership on the Alaska Marine Highway System ferries increased this summer compared to last year's season.
George Capacci, the system's general manager, attributed the increase to better marketing and the return to service of the state ferry Columbia.
The number of passengers traveling on state ferries increased 6 percent, from 170,055 people in 2001 to 179,647 in 2002.
The number of vehicles carried on ferries increased by 4 percent and cabin use increased by 7 percent. The numbers run from May 1 to Aug. 31.
''It's a trend that's positive,'' Capacci said. ''It shows that it's growing and going in the right way. And we will continue to grow that.''
Higher bookings brought a 7 percent, or $1.5 million, increase in revenue in 2002, according to the ferry system.
The totals don't include the system's Ketchikan-to-Hollis run 2001. That service was taken over by the separate Inter-Island Ferry Authority in 2002.
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