Valley View Ferry cutting back hours

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FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky (WKYT) - One of Kentucky’s oldest businesses is having trouble finding qualified workers so now it's cutting back on its hours.

Over the years, the Valley View Ferry has become part of the culture in central Kentucky-- transporting hundreds of people across the Kentucky River between Fayette, Jessamine and Madison Counties every day.

“It’s the most convenient, scenic way. It gets us off the freeway and we like to use the ferry,” said Barbara Ryan, who frequently travels on the ferry.

But soon--- that will change.

U.S. Coast Guard regulations require the ferry to be piloted by licensed captains working no more than 12 hours a day. Right now, the ferry has two licensed captains but one of them is leaving June 28th.

Starting June 29th, the ferry will be closed on weekends and will only operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Many folks use the ferry as a way to save time on their daily commute but with the ferry's new schedule, they'll have to backtrack and go through Richmond or Jessamine County.

“Probably on average for one week it would increase my commute by about 200 miles,” said Mike Hughes, who travels on the ferry almost every day.

“Unless they create alternative plans to get to I-75 or down to Richmond from Nicholasville then it’s a 45 minute drive unless you’re able to cross at the ferry here,” said Jeremiah Six. Six says he travels on the ferry 2-3 times a month.

The changes will also affect folks like Fran Blevins who uses the ferry for recreational purposes. Blevins and her cycling group use the Valley View Ferry almost every weekend.

“It’s just been a part of cycling here on the weekends here in the Bluegrass. It’s a big impact for us; we are going to miss the ferry. I just hope they find a way to resolve this,” Blevins said.

Ferry Authority officials hope drivers and cyclists will be patient with them until they're able to return to their normal operating schedule.

Valley View Ferry Authority officials say they're working with various congressmen to try and change Coast Guard regulations but they say it is a very lengthy process.

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