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January 30, 2024
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NYC DOT, NYCEDC Announce Return of Refreshments on the Staten Island Ferry

An open call for vendors begins today and will run through March 7, with refreshments areas anticipated to return by fall 2024

NEW YORK – Today, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO Andrew Kimball announced the return of refreshments on the Staten Island Ferry. Under a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued today, the operator will be responsible for selling food and drinks aboard in-service vessels – including alcoholic beverages. The RFP will be open through March 7, 2024, and refreshments areas are anticipated to be in place by fall 2024. This will mark the first time refreshments have been offered on the boats since before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We’ve invested and secured tens of millions of dollars to improve our ferry system, because we know how vital it is to keep working-class New Yorkers moving," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. "We’ve already delivered for Staten Island with our Ferry Forward plan and with a long-overdue contract for ferry workers, and we’re going to keep delivering by finding the best company to provide concessions on the Staten Island Ferry. More and more New Yorkers are riding our ferries for work and for fun, and they deserve to kick back, have a snack, and enjoy the journey without a second thought."

"There are few better feelings than taking in the Manhattan skyline from the Staten Island Ferry with a cold beverage in hand," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "It’s a 25-minute trip, and commuters should be able to conveniently purchase coffees, snacks, and other items while they’re aboard. We look forward to working with the NYCEDC to select this operator and drive new revenue for the city as it continues its economic recovery."

"The Staten Island Ferry provides millions of New Yorkers every year with a reliable transportation service," said NYCEDC President & CEO Andrew Kimball. "NYCEDC is thrilled to work with DOT to bring back concessions onboard and look forward to choosing an operator so that all riders have the best possible experience taking in the New York City skyline."

The selected operator will be serving aboard the busiest municipal ferry service in the country. Roughly 45,000 passengers ride the Staten Island Ferry on an average weekday, with about 15 million riding people annually. The selected operator will sign on for a period of 10 years, with the option for NYCEDC to extend the lease for two additional five-year periods, for a total of 20 years.

NYCEDC will judge respondents to the RFP based on several criteria: including their experience in the field; their financial capacity to take on the lease agreement; and the types of products and services they plan to offer. Should the respondents choose to include beer sales, where possible, they are advised to consider offering local beer and local craft breweries from Staten Island and Manhattan.

"Since the pandemic is over, we’ve slowly seen more riders returning to the Staten Island Ferry," said Congressmember Nicole Malliotakis. "The return of concessions will only bolster ridership and create a more enjoyable experience for our borough’s commuters and visitors alike."

"Over the years, the concession on the Staten Island Ferry was a nice little convenience for commuters as well as tourists," said Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella. "It is long overdue to get the food and beverage concession open again. We have been urging the City to start the process to get it back open. We are pleased Commissioner Rodriguez is committed to allow this nice little convenience to set sail again."

"The return of food and refreshments to the Staten Island Ferry has been a long time coming," said State Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton. "For the daily commuters in my district, who rely on the ferry five days a week, the closure of food concessions due to the pandemic has been a serious inconvenience. The reinstatement of food and refreshments on the Staten Island Ferry not only caters to the practical needs of my constituents– it also enhances the overall experience for all the tourists who visit. It's more than just a return of ferry beers; it's a return to normalcy, and I appreciate the DOT acknowledging the importance of bringing our food concessions back in 2024."

"Residents and tourists of Staten Island have long awaited the return of concessions to our ferry boats and terminals," said Assemblymember Charles D. Fall. "This restoration brings significant improvement in our commuting experience, which has been a missing element for far too long. I extend gratitude to Mayor Adams, DOT Commissioner Rodriguez and everyone involved for once again prioritizing our transit infrastructure, ensuring that both residents and tourists can enjoy a better commuting experience."

"I am pleased to see the return of concessions aboard the Staten Island Ferry," said Assemblymember Sam Pirozzolo. "Commuters have been left without concessions options since 2020, and I am positive their return will be welcomed warmly."

"I am thrilled by the announcement of the return of concessions to the Staten Island Ferry boats and terminals, a much-missed amenity since the onset of COVID-19," said Councilmember Kamillah Hanks. "The move will enrich the nearly 45,000 passengers who ride the ferry everyday. This will mark a significant stride in our economic recovery, offering local businesses new opportunities and making our public transit spaces even more inviting for everyone."

"The return of concessions to the Staten Island Ferry is welcome news. Commuters and other ferry riders will soon be able to get a bite to eat or a cup of coffee as they travel between our borough and Manhattan," said Councilmember David Carr. "I look forward to the results of the RFP and thank the Mayor and DOT for pursuing restoration of concession s on our ferries."

"For nearly four years, Staten Islanders and the millions who ride the world-famous Staten Island Ferry have been unable to buy a snack, a drink, or an iconic "Ferry Beer" when the onboard concessions closed," said Richmond County District Attorney Michael McMahon. "Walking past empty concession stands, particularly the brand new, never used spaces on Ollis-class boats has long-begged the question: "When will they come back?" I am thrilled that NYCEDC and DOT are releasing a Request for Proposals to bring new vendors to our beloved boats, and I look forward to a quick process and to enjoying the scenic 25-minute ride across New York Harbor with a refreshment in hand soon."