The city will restore full Staten Island Ferry service with boats running every half hour around the clock starting in August, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
“Fast, reliable, and frequent transit options are at the core of Staten Island’s recovery,” said de Blasio in a statement on June 22. “From essential workers, to office employees, to young people enjoying a late night out, New Yorkers have a thousand reasons to celebrate half-hour service. It’s a sure sign that we’re building a recovery for all of us.”
The city’s Department of Transportation will add more trips originating from St. George Ferry Terminal starting at 12:30 am on Monday, Aug. 16.
On weekdays, restored overnight crossings will depart the Rock from 1:30-4:30 am, and between 12:30-6:30 am on weekends.
DOT plans to hire and train new crew to staff these additions trips.
“I am pleased that full overnight service will return to the Staten Island Ferry later this summer, all thanks to the Mayor’s and Borough President’s commitment to getting us back to normal,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “Staten Islanders and their elected officials have made it very clear how important frequent service is to their quality of life – and we are once again happy to oblige in bringing back service every half hour on one of New York City’s great commutes.”
The city rolled back service to departures only every hour from both St. George and Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan during the pandemic.
With the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020, the average daily ridership took a nosedive from 75,000 to just 11,000, an 85% drop.
Pre-pandemic, the free ferry transported about 22 million people across the New York Harbor a year.
Waterborne passengers began to return the following May raising concerns of overcrowding on the boats, the New York Daily News reported, and Staten Island Borough President James Oddo pushed the city to restore 24/7 service.
“We have been anxiously awaiting the return the 24/7/365, and I can’t say I have been patient,” Oddo said Tuesday. “That glorious Big Orange boat will continue to be a lifeline to Manhattan. New York City continues to recover and come back strong.”