May 21, 2020
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that beginning this afternoon, Thursday, May 21st, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Staten Island Ferry will return to 30-minute service frequency during the morning (5:00am – 9:00am) and evening (3:30pm – 7:30pm) rush hours.
“The Staten Island Ferry keeps this city running,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Restoring half-hour service during morning and evening rush hours will help essential workers fight this crisis on the front lines, and I’m grateful for every ferry worker’s efforts to offer Staten Islanders safe and reliable transit throughout this crisis.”
“This return to half-hour service during AM and PM rush hours comes as ridership continues to tick upwards, and providing a safe and dependable way for our frontline workers in this fight remains essential,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “I want to thank all of the dedicated ferry staff who have performed an outstanding job of keeping the Staten Island Ferry running and clean throughout this crisis.”
“As Staten Island Ferry ridership rebounds and our crews are increasingly healthy and back on the job, we pleased to restore more frequent rush-hour service — a hopeful sign that New York City is starting to recover from COVID-19,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We want to thank Staten Islanders for their understanding during this crisis and thank our dedicated ferry staff for all their hard work.”
On March 30, declining ridership led the City to reduce Staten Island Ferry service to hourly AM/PM rush hour service. Ridership has increased in recent weeks, averaging about 8,000 passengers per day. More employees healthy and able to return to work allows DOT to adequately staff increased vessels during the rush hours and continue to clean vessels between runs.
As ridership continues to increase, passengers must wear face coverings at all times while in the terminals and on board the ferryboats. Face coverings will be available for passengers who arrive to ferry terminals without one. Queues have been set up in both terminals, signage has been erected, and continuous announcements will be made in the terminals and on the vessels reminding passengers to wear masks.
The ferry should not be used for recreational or sightseeing purposes during the city’s fight against COVID-19. Staying home and avoiding all but essential travel remains the best way to help stop the spread of the disease.
“Restoring the Staten Island Ferry’s half-hour service is a solid step in the right direction for Staten Island, as we weather this crisis and eventually begin to recover and rebuild from COVID-19,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “It’s important that we invest in our public transportation systems, like the Staten Island Ferry, which are so essential for our frontline workers and all Staten Islanders.”
“The Staten Island Ferry is a representation of our borough, and the increase in ridership shows how Staten Island is bouncing back from this crisis. Borough President Oddo and the rest of the Staten Island delegation have fought and we will not stop fighting until ferry service is fully restored as ridership increases,” said Rep. Max Rose.
“The data does not lie. And the data show the need for increased Staten Island Ferry service during these times, so adding these trips is the right thing. Our being able to point to the city's own data as we made the case for this service was a convincing argument. I am very appreciative for the recent conversations I had with Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg, and rest assured my eyes remain fixed on 24/7, 365 half hour service so these discussions will be ongoing,” said Staten Island Borough President Jim Oddo.
“I’m glad to see the Mayor is adjusting the schedule to increase service now that we are have flattened the curve and more people are riding the ferry. It is important for social distancing that we continue to monitor the ridership and increase it accordingly as the weather gets nicer and the city begins to reopen,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
“I am glad to hear that City Hall and the Department of Transportation kept their promise to restore half-hour service on the Staten Island Ferry during the morning and evening rush hours — thank you to Mayor de Blasio for making this happen. We still have a long way to go in terms of beating COVID-19, but perhaps this is a sign that things are slowly starting to improve,” said Assemblyman Michael Riley.
“This partial return to half-hour service is a welcome step in the right direction that will make a significant impact on the commutes of hundreds of Staten Islanders. As we continue to take steps toward reopening businesses, it is essential that our transportation system remain a step ahead of openings so that residents can commute with the greatest safety and efficiency that our infrastructure will allow,” said Council Member Debi Rose.