Allen Marine’s tour boat the Melinda Leigh will be ferrying passengers on routes normally serviced by the Alaska Marine Highway System. (Photo courtesy of Allen Marine).

The Alaska Marine Highway System announced Wednesday it’s chartering a private ferry to provide interim passenger service between several Southeast communities.

The state has hired Allen Marine to run day trips between Juneau, Kake, Angoon and Tenakee Springs. Those runs will be Saturday, February 29 and Tuesday March 3.

A second route between Sitka and Juneau was included in the $22,150 contract signed this week. Those dates have not been announced.

Regional ferry service has been suspended since the ferry Matanuska broke down in January. State officials say it will likely need to be dry docked in Ketchikan’s shipyard. It remains tied up in Juneau’s Auke Bay.

Fares will be the same as on a state ferry; between $80 one-way from Juneau to Kake and $56 between Juneau and Tenakee Springs. Tickets are available through the marine highway’s reservation system.

The ferry Tazlina is scheduled to resume service next week to Angoon, Hoonah, Juneau, Haines and Skagway. Service to Wrangell and Petersburg is not expected to resume until mid-April when the ferry Columbia returns to service.

The ferry system also has yet to release a final schedule for this spring or summer but says that schedule will be available by the end of this month.