Chappy Ferry owner Peter Wells is seeking a rate hike for the boat line connecting the small, rural island to downtown Edgartown, after recent plans to sell the business fell through.

“I need a rate increase to get through the winter,” Mr. Wells told the Gazette in a phone call this week.

The planned price change would affect every form of travel on the ferry, including the discounted year-rounder ticket books. Basic passenger fare would increase from $4 to $5, with vehicle fare rising from $13 to $15. Bicycle fare would increase from $6 to $7. Fares overall would increase by about 15 per cent for each of the ferry’s services.

The ferry crossing Edgartown Harbor is privately owned, but operates under a lease and license granted by the town. Mr. Wells and co-owner Sally Snipes attempted to sell the business earlier this fall, but a deal with a Chappaquiddick investor group eventually fell through, Mr. Wells told the Gazette.

With the lease up for renewal in 2023, Mr. Wells said it now appears likely the pair will continue to own and operate the service for at least another year. He said he had held off on a rate increase earlier this year because a sale of the business seemed imminent.

He added that the ferry lost money during the pandemic, and has yet to bring its bottom line back into the black.

“[Revenues] haven’t even leveled off yet,” he said.

The Chappy Ferry steering committee is set to discuss the potential rate increase on Monday, Mr. Wells said, adding that the Edgartown select board is the ultimate approving authority for ferry prices. He said he hopes for support from the steering committee as the request makes its way through town government.

“The steering committee meetings really are a place for the public to have plenty of time . . . to express their concerns,” he said.