The service would improve the trip for those commuting to Midtown, who currently either take express buses or take the Staten Island Ferry to various subway lines. A trip on the new ferry to West 39th Street would take approximately the same time as it currently takes the Staten Island Ferry to arrive at its destination at Whitehall in downtown Manhattan. In addition, those utilizing the new ferry would have access to New York Waterway’s free connecting bus service from their Midtown terminal to other Midtown destinations, with seven free routes covering a multitude of work destinations between 57th Street and Canal Street. This would give commuters back some of their valuable time currently spent in commuting, either in traffic or on various subway lines waiting to get to their Midtown destinations.
BP Oddo said, “Twenty-five minutes from St. George to Midtown. Twenty-five minutes. This is not the answer to all our traffic or commuting woes. But this has been a successful collaboration, entirely outside of citywide government, between us at Borough Hall and the private sector, to get Staten Islanders the possibility of a better commute. This mission continues on various fronts. Let me be clear, this does not negate the City’s obligations to our borough in its ‘5 Borough (since renamed ‘Citywide,’ but still inaccurate) Ferry Service at a subsidized fare. That fight continues. In the interim, we have been exhausting all options and possibilities to create a new fast ferry route to give Staten Islanders more choices.
Oddo continued, “I have been speaking with Mr. Imperatore for more than four years, learning more about fast ferry service and trying to figure out how we can bring it to Staten Island. He has an incredible breadth of knowledge about this industry and how to structure routes that work. Here, we finally have a confluence of events that will make this workable. We have a new dock being constructed, new development poised to open, plenty of parking at the Empire Outlets and NY Wheel sites, a ferry operator ready, willing, and eager to help Staten Islanders, and my constituents who are desperate for new transportation options. While I continue to work with the City on bringing additional ferry options to Staten Island, particularly to the South Shore, which has challenges that have to be overcome, the time was right to work with NY Waterway on this project. The reality is, once the construction of the new dock is completed, in around a year, we will be ready to sail. I have continuously said that ferry service will beget more ferry service once we can demonstrate how successful it will be.”
“It is an honor to work with Borough President James Oddo and to have this opportunity to improve the quality of life for Staten Islanders with safe, reliable, environmentally-friendly commuter ferry service,” Mr. Imperatore said. “NY Waterway has a +99 percent on-time performance record, the most reliable mass transit system in the Metropolitan Area. Staten Islanders will know with certainty when they will get to work – and more importantly, when they will get home.”
“This is big win for Staten Island and it means an even brighter future for the St. George community. Fast ferry service will have a transformative impact across Staten Island by shortening commutes for our residents and bringing more visitors to our incredible North Shore,” said Joseph Ferrara, principal of BFC Partners, developer of Empire Outlets. “We applaud Borough President Oddo for once again demonstrating leadership that improves quality of life for the borough while also growing our local economy. We are also grateful to Arthur Imperatore of NY Waterway for his vision, foresight and commitment to serving Staten Islanders.”
“Providing quick, affordable access to midtown is critical to the North Shore reaching its full potential as a neighborhood and a destination,” said New York Wheel CEO Rich Marin. “We applaud the Borough President and New York Waterway for making such a significant investment in the future of Staten Island for locals and visitors alike.”
“This is a huge economic development boost for St. George as it will only increase the number of employees, visitors and residents that come to this area,” said Lester Petracca, President of Triangle Equities. “The new ferry service provides current and future developments and businesses, including Lighthouse Point, a major benefit and only solidifies St. George as a viable option to live, work and visit.”
“NYCEDC is thrilled to celebrate the continued growth of Downtown Staten Island,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett. “The New York Wheel, Empire Outlets, Lighthouse Point and New Stapleton Waterfront together will bring 2,000 jobs and more than $1.6 billion in investment to Staten Island’s North Shore. Additional ferry service will bring even more energy to the area, and it should surprise absolutely no one that Borough President James Oddo is the person who has brought everyone closer to making it a reality.”
The new service will run throughout the day to service commuters. The price has not yet been determined, but Mr. Imperatore promised it would be fair and attractive to commuters given the faster and more certain commute for Staten Islanders, many of whom now take more than two hours to get to Midtown.