FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2005
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES INCREASES IN STATEN ISLAND FERRY SERVICE
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Staten Island Borought President James P. Molinaro, Minority Leader James Oddo, Councilmembers Michael McMahon and Andrew Lanza and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall at the St. George Terminal in Staten Island to announce support of a new bill that increases the frequency of Staten Island ferry service. The new bill takes into account Staten Island's growing population and the corresponding increases in ridership on the Staten Island Ferry and establishes more frequent service to accommodate the greater demand.
"Staten Island residents deserve a first class ferry system," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The ferry is the island's lifeblood, and I am pleased that we have reached an agreement with the City Council to increase the frequency of ferry service. In addition to two beautiful new terminals, three new boats, that are either in operation or soon to be, we will now have more late night, early morning and weekend service. Staten Island is the fastest growing county in New York State and our ferry service is keeping up with the increased demand."
DOT will add three additional weekday ferry runs. Half-hour ferry service will now be available between 5am and 6am with the introduction of a 5:30am boat from St. George. Between 7am and 8am a fourth boat will be added to provide service every fifteen minutes. In addition, a new 1am boat will depart from Whitehall, and provide half-hour ferry service until 1:30am Monday-Friday.
Within 18 months the City will add additional weekend service. On Saturdays, half -hour service will be provided from 6am-11am and on Sundays half-hour service will begin at 9am. Currently half-hour weekend service on both days does not begin until 11am.
In addition, the Department of Transportation is installing counters to record the numbers of daily ferry passengers. This will allow DOT to assess demand for service and provide the City Council and the Mayor with comprehensive ferry ridership data. This information will be distributed to the Council and Mayor bi-monthly for 12 months. At the conclusion of the twelve-month period, the City can make additional adjustment to the service.
"Nineteen-seventies service in a 2005 City is unacceptable," said Speaker Miller. "That's why increasing ferry service is the responsible choice for Staten Island, for our City's economy and for our future."
"On behalf of Staten Island Ferry riders, I'm thankful to Mayor Bloomberg for working with us to develop a plan to increase ferry service that meets the needs of our commuters, but also makes operational sense for the Department of Transportation," said Borough President Molinaro. "I want to recognize the fact that during Mayor Bloomberg's tenure, we'll not only have increased ferry runs, but will open two new terminals and welcome three new ferries to our fleet. This is a very positive step forward for ferry riders."
"They say good things come to those who wait and Staten Islanders have been waiting for increased ferry service for a long time," said Minority Leader Oddo. "This is a great victory for the people of Staten Island."
"Today's agreement represents a stunning victory for Staten Islanders who use the ferry every day and on weekends," said Councilmember McMahon. "It's also a tribute to Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Miller that they reached this accord and put ferry riders interest first. I'm profoundly proud of this legislation which will have a marked improvement in the lives of so many people and their families."
"I'm pleased that we're able to offer a practical plan for service expansion that meets the most pressing commuting needs of Staten Islanders," said Commissioner Iris Weinshall. "The City has worked hard over the last year and a half to implement new safety measures and expand our operational abilities. Expanded ferry service in addition to our new ferry boats and reconstructed ferry terminals will mean a better ride for everyone."
The Staten Island Ferry has been a municipal service since 1905, and currently carries over 19 million passengers annually on a 5.2-mile run between the St. George Terminal in Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in lower Manhattan. Service is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Staten Island Ferry is the most reliable form of mass transit, with an on-time performance of over 96%.
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Kay Sarlin (DOT)
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