NJ Transit To Become Ferry Godmother
Can New Jersey afford to take on transportation projects that serve so few people? Is it cost effective? The article excerpted below states the ferry serves 15,000 riders. That’s not correct – the ferry provides 15,000 rides. Most of them round trips, meaning about 7,500 people are using the ferry service.
Remember the River Line, where riders pay a one-way fare of $1.10, and New Jersey taxpayers pay $35.00. A reasonable fare, reasonable to whom?
Commuters who rely on ferries to get back and forth to work would be shielded from excessive fare increases or sudden service disruptions under a measure passed Thursday by the Assembly. The measure empowers NJ Transit to assume control of the New York Waterway ferry services if private ownership fails to provide New Jersey commuters with satisfactory service.
The bill, which now heads to the Senate, was prompted by a near shutdown late last year of the Hudson River ferry service, used by 15,000 daily riders. "We must ensure that as many people as possible have access to a comprehensive mass transit system at a reasonable price, and a quality ferry operation needs to be part of that equation," said Assembly Speaker Albio Sires, a co-sponsor of the bill. "A contingency plan needs to be put in place in the event new private ownership of New York Waterway ferries results in burdensome fares or less than optimum service for commuters."
The other side of the story:
NJ Transit may give NY Waterway a break on the lease payments that the struggling company has agreed to make on the new $53 million ferry terminal being built in Weehawken, officials said.
The Port Authority had been charging NY Waterway $50,000 a month. But the agency agreed to revise the payments as part of a deal that shifts the Hoboken Terminal routes to William Wachtel, a well-connected Manhattan lawyer.
Wachtel, who is buying 16 ferries from NY Waterway for $19.1 million, would have to pay less than half the current fee under the deal that may be approved by the Port Authority at its meeting Thursday.