April 18, 2017
By Neal Tepel
Staten Island, NY - This September, passengers will be able to board from the lower levels in both Staten Island Ferry terminals.The changes are expected to improve passenger circulation and relieve bottlenecks at the Staten Island Ferry. The Ferry currently carries nearly 70,000 daily passengers, with over 23 million trips in 2016 .
“Each morning and evening, Staten Islanders face huge crowds pushing their way onto the ferry," said Mayor de Blasio. “They spoke up, and we listened. With ridership breaking records, we’re taking steps to reducing crowding while keeping passengers safe. Lower Level boarding means more ways onto the boat, which means a more pleasant ride and fewer delays in the terminal.”
In September, DOT will begin lower-level boarding at the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan, and also at the same time begin permitting lower-level boarding pilot during morning rush (7-9 A.M.) at Staten Island's St. George Terminal. St. George passengers entering the terminal via the Kiss & Ride will have the option of accessing the lower level. DOT will collect usage data to measure the effectiveness of lower level boarding at St. George. Altogether these efforts to enhance boarding are expected to cost $2 million next year.
"This is a straightforward way to make the commute a little more tolerable. Who among us has not been stuck in massive crush of people while boarding the Ferry, forced to shuffle along like a zombie on the 'Walking Dead.' On this issue, I wrote to DOT asking for the change and discussed it directly with the Mayor during our dinner at Aunt Butchies," said Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo. "Thank you to the Mayor for coming through and bringing lower level boarding to both Whitehall and St. George. This action will help alleviate some of the human traffic jams, and make for a better experience for commuters."