The state ferry M/V Aurora sails in and out of Whittier once a day, but that won’t be the case in winter.

The Alaska Marine Highway System had to make unpopular choices after it lost $43 million to operate the ferries, and Whittier is one of five communities that will lose winter ferry service starting Oct. 1.

On Sunday, the Bartley family headed home to Cordova from Whittier after five days in Anchorage. Terry Bartley said the family went shopping to prepare for winter.

"Normally I do this several times a year,” he said. “But unfortunately, this year, we'll only do this once for the seven months to come, eight months to come.”

Bartley is also concerned for his neighbors

"For people who have severe medical problems, who need to make frequent trips, women who are having babies, whose families often need to stay in Anchorage for a month while they wait for their baby to arrive," he said.

John Hopkins also loaded up before the ferries stop sailing.

"The ferry's going to shut down here pretty soon, and we're going to be stuck for seven months without a road,” Hopkins said.

The AMHS says all communities serviced by the state ferry system will have a reduction this winter. Chenega Bay, Cordova, Tatitlek and Valdez will also lose winter ferry service. It will resume May 1, 2020.

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