View Full Version : Study Calls for Adding Ferries to Link Suburbs to Downtown

March 13th, 2003, 06:51 AM
March 13, 2003
Study Calls for Adding Ferries to Link Suburbs to Downtown

Since shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center, an old idea — extending the Long Island Rail Road to Lower Manhattan — has received new attention and support from downtown business leaders. As part of his $10.6 billion rebuilding plan, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg advocated building a new tunnel beneath the East River to link downtown with the railroad.

But a study to be released today contends that adding a commuter rail line from Long Island to downtown would do little to improve access to the area, and that a much bigger network of ferries would do the job better and for less money.

The study, conducted by Schaller Consulting, a transportation research firm based in Brooklyn, found that the difference in average travel times from Long Island to Midtown East — the center of gravity for Midtown jobs — is actually only two to six minutes shorter than average times for Long Island commuters heading to downtown offices, based on train and subway schedules. Both groups of commuters must transfer from trains to subways or buses at Pennsylvania Station.

But for Metro-North riders who commute to Grand Central Terminal, the average difference in travel times to jobs in Midtown versus those in Lower Manhattan was much greater — 10 to 15 minutes longer to get downtown, usually on the Lexington Avenue subway, one of the city's most crowded.

The significance of that disparity shows up clearly in work force statistics. While 21 percent of all Long Islanders commuting to Manhattan work in Lower Manhattan, only 16 percent of workers who live along Metro-North's lines do — suggesting that the real need for downtown commuters is a Metro-North extension, which is considered highly unlikely because it would be much more expensive than the Long Island Rail Road option.

The study advocates ferries because, while the costs of operating ferries and commuter trains are roughly comparable, it would cost far less to expand ferry service than to build tunnels or train connections. Furthermore, the study points out, while commuter rail lines are commonly considered the primary way workers are funneled into the city from the suburbs, they actually serve just 44 percent of the commuting population, and one in five suburban workers now make their way in on express buses or ferries.

"The advantage to ferries is that they serve the market that most needs to be served to downtown — Westchester and the market north of the city," said Bruce Schaller, a former transportation analyst for New York City Transit and the Taxi and Limousine Commission who wrote the study. "Plus, ferries can be put in place far more quickly than anything else can."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

March 13th, 2003, 08:41 AM
The travel times stated ignores the fact that subways from Penn Sta to lower Manhattan are reaching critical mass.

If the "cost of operating ferries and commuter trains are roughly comparable," why are ferry fares so much higher?

Ferry fares need to be subsidized to compete with express buses (which are subsidized).

March 13th, 2003, 10:24 AM
I think the city needs to do all of this - better connections to downtown, better commuter rails to both down and mitown and have more ferries. *If would be great to truly get a real network of ferry stops all around the city, especially in time other than winter.

Hopefully they realize that the cities needs to really invest every dime it can to make the city have more and more transport options. *This is the onyl way the city will move forward and grow. *We'll see.

March 13th, 2003, 09:06 PM
I like the idea. Travel to your job or whatever and get a tour at the same time(well I know it isn't for a tour, but I bet the view is great).

March 13th, 2003, 09:32 PM
I've always wondered why ferries weren't more popular. Perhaps because getting to the ferry is currently difficult in many locations.

The PA's ferry service web page is interesting.

March 13th, 2003, 10:02 PM
It's a great idea and would probably help spur waterfront renewal projects.

March 13th, 2003, 10:22 PM
Wow, what a shock, there are so many more ferry stops in Jersey. *Man, I wish NYC would take better control of the friggin' PA. We friggin' built Newark airport already. *They took all the port container business.


November 11th, 2005, 07:02 AM
Press Release


Date: November 10, 2005
Press Release Number: 135-2005

New Service is Part of Governor Pataki’s Plan
To Improve Commuting Options Throughout Region

In cooperation with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is seeking proposals from ferry operators to initiate service between the City of Yonkers and Lower Manhattan.

The selected operator will run ferries between Yonkers and the Battery Park City Ferry Terminal, located just west of the World Trade Center site and Pier 11 at the foot of Wall Street. The LMDC is in the process of allocating a grant to help pay for the operation of the ferry. Proposals are due by December 28, and service is expected to begin in the spring of 2006.

New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “For more than a decade, Yonkers commuters patiently sought ferry service that would provide them with a quick, convenient commuting option to and from Manhattan. We are now on the verge of beginning that service by the spring of next year. The service will benefit the northern suburbs and is a critical step in improving commuter access to Manhattan.”

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “In order to spark regional growth, we must have a transportation network in place to support it. The use of our waterways has become an important option as we look to reduce the dependence on our bridges, tunnels and existing mass transit systems. This service will be part of our regional network, which now has more than 19,500 people using private ferry transportation to get to and from Manhattan each day.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “This ferry service will serve as a spur for the revitalization that is now under way in Lower Manhattan. As we have seen in the past four years, ferry service throughout the region has played a major role in attracting businesses and jobs back to Lower Manhattan. This service will become increasingly important as we continue with the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site.”

Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “This service, one of several ferry initiatives the Port Authority now has under way, will allow residents of Yonkers to enjoy for the first time a one-seat ride to Manhattan. Under Governor Pataki’s leadership, we are moving forward to provide ferry service from LaGuardia Airport beginning in the spring of 2006, which we expect will play a vital role in helping to drive the region’s economy.”

Stefan Pryor, President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, said, “We’re happy to join with the Port Authority to provide a much needed additional means of transportation to and from Lower Manhattan. Under the leadership of Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, the LMDC is committed to creative transportation improvements that will expedite redevelopment at the World Trade Center site – and will serve everyone who lives, works and visits downtown.”

The operator chosen for the Yonkers ferry service will have the option of also providing service to the Village of Haverstraw in Rockland County.

The ferry trip between Yonkers and the Battery Park City ferry terminal is expected to take approximately 40 minutes.

Under its Regional Ferry Program, the Port Authority is providing $2 million to pay for a portion of the rehabilitation of the Yonkers City Pier. Other projects include new ferry landings in Edgewater, N.J. and Staten Island, N.Y.

Additionally, the Port Authority’s permanent 5-slip Battery Park City Ferry terminal is scheduled for completion in January 2007, and the Port Authority also has committed $43 million to NJ Transit for the rehabilitation of the historic Hoboken Ferry Terminal.

November 11th, 2005, 08:08 AM
I've always wondered why ferries weren't more popular. Perhaps because getting to the ferry is currently difficult in many locations.
Nature of the beast; because there's water on one side of it, a ferry stop is always on the edge of things. Ferries run from periphery to periphery.

A subway can run to the middle of things.

November 11th, 2005, 08:31 PM
Well with the FREE shuttle bus system NY Waterway has set up, getting to the 38th St terminal is no hassle at all.

I've been eyeing Yonkers as an excellent spot for ferry service for years. I recently checked out the area near the train station, and there's a little slip right next to the station that'd be perfect for docking.

This could be great not only for commuters, but also any possible business travelers comming from the Hudson Valley/Albany area. They can take Amtrak to Yonkers and change to the ferry to downtown.

My idea was to have a route starting at Pier 11, stopping at WFC or Colgate(Jersey City), then up to 38th St, 57th St, then Yonkers. From there, Piermont, then some more stops up to Haverstraw

Can't wait to see this. That and the revival of LGA ferry service. Hopefully they'll have it stop at 34th St too this time though.

March 3rd, 2007, 03:10 PM
:)This is a great new service. Hopefully the new water taxi line will start from Yonkers by April or May. We'll see. The ferry to haverstraw will then start in june or july. There's some information about on a website that I found about Haverstraw, New York. It's www.HaverstrawLife.com (http://www.haverstrawlife.com) . Apparently, Haverstraw is investing millions in ferry docks and its waterfront and downtown. Check it out.

March 12th, 2007, 12:23 PM
Does anyone know when the Yonkers Ferry is going to start? I heard April, but I'd like to know specifics; apparently the extension to Haverstraw won't be until later?

March 11th, 2008, 03:47 AM
More information on ferry services in New York and Long Island can be found at the official Long Island Ferries (http://www.liferries.com)..

Good luck!