Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry is a passenger ferry operated by the New York City Department of Transportation between Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan near Battery Park and Saint George Ferry Terminal on Richmond Terrace in Staten Island near Richmond County Borough Hall and Richmond County Supreme Court.

A Kennedy Class Ferry arriving at the Saint George Terminal, Staten Island, New York

The fare for passengers, which had been 50 cents (25 cents until 1990) for a round trip between St. George, Staten Island, and the Whitehall Terminal in lower Manhattan, was eliminated by 1997; now it is free to anyone who presents themselves at either terminal; there is commuter parking in Staten Island and the St George Ferry terminal is also the terminus of the Staten Island Railway. On the Manhattan side the terminal is convenient to various bus and subway connections. The ferry ride is a favorite of tourists to New York as it provides excellent views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. The fare for vehicles remains at $3 though vehicles have not been allowed on the Ferry since 2001.

The Staten Island Ferry has been a service run by the city since 1905. Annually it carries over 19 million passengers on a 5.2-mile run that takes approximately 25 minutes each way. Service is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Each day approximately five boats transport almost 65,000 passengers during 104 boat trips. Over 33,000 trips are made annually.

There are seven ferry boats in three "Classes" currently in service:

  • the John F. Kennedy, the American Legion, and the Governor Herbert H. Lehman, known as The Kennedy Class, built 1965. Each boat can carry 3,500 passengers and up to 40 vehicles, are 297 feet long, 69 feet, 10 inches wide, with a draft of 13 feet, 6 inches, weight of 2,109 gross tons, service speed of 16 knots, and engines of 6,500 horsepower.
  • the Andrew J. Barberi and the Samuel I. Newhouse, known as The Barberi Class, built 1981. Each boat carries 6,000 passengers and no cars. The boats are 310 feet long, 69 feet, 10 inches wide, with a draft of 13 feet, 6 inches, weight of 3,335 gross tons, service speed of 16 knots, and engines of 7,000 horsepower.
  • the Alice Austen and the John A. Noble known as The Austen Class, built 1986. Each boat carries 1,280 passengers, and no cars. The boats are 207 feet long, 40 feet wide, with a draft of 8 feet, 6 inches, weight of 499 gross tons, service speed of 16 knots, and engines of 3,200 horsepower.

The lower manhattan Mahattan skyline from the deck of the Ferry, 2003

On July 4, 2003 Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that first of a new class of boats would be christened on September 20, 2003. The first of this new class is being built by the Manitowoc Marine Group in Marinette, Wisconsin and will be called the Guy V. Molinari after the former Borough President of Richmond County. The Molinari will carry a maximum of 4,500 passengers and up to 40 vehicles and will be available to Ferry riders by next spring. The Marine Group also will build two similar-sized boats. All three boats are expected to be completed and delivered the fall 2004. The three new boats will hopefully only cost $120 million replacing the three Kennedy Class boats, which are scheduled to be retired from service after forty years.

On October 15, 2003, at about 3:30 pm, the Barberi collided with a pier (2003 NYC Ferry Crash) on the eastern end of the St. George ferry terminal, killing eleven people, seriously injuring many others, and tearing a huge slash through the lowest of the three passenger decks.

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