Thomas back at helm of NC Ferry Division

Published 4:17 pm Monday, September 18, 2017

Harold Thomas is director of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division — again.

Thomas held the position from 2011 to 2014, when he was demoted to one of two deputy director positions by then-Gov. Pat McCrory, who appointed Ed Goodwin as director in April 2014. Goodwin, a former Chowan County commissioner, left that job Jan. 31. Before being appointed director, Goodwin worked for about a year directing McCrory’s eastern regional office.

Thomas rose through the ranks, starting as a ferry crewmember on the Cherry Branch-Minnesott ferry in 1994, to reach the division’s top job.

Since returning to the director’s post, Thomas has been meeting with people, including Outer Banks residents, to get feedback from as many residents as he can in an effort to find out what they want from the ferry service, which many of them use regularly. One of his priorities is to improve customer service. That’s where input from ferry passengers comes in.

The Ferry Division operates 22 ferries and transports about 2 million people annually. It is the second-largest state-run ferry system in the nation, behind Washington state.

In several interviews with media outlets, Thomas said he wants to make the ferry schedules as efficient and convenient as possible.