Updated 12/10/2012 07:00 PM
Officials Still Unsure Whether SI's "Fast Ferry" Will Become Permanent
Mayor Michael Bloomberg thanked Staten Island ferry crews Monday for their work to quickly restore service after Hurricane Sandy, but the future of the "fast ferry" remains up in the air. NY1's Josh Robin has the story.
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Crews restored Staten Island Ferry service less than a week after Hurricane Sandy struck and Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg thanked Department of Transportation Employees for their hard work.
Bloomberg and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro said they were happy with the work that was done, but there is still more work to be done.
"The waters just came in at an extraordinary level, I mean, waist high waters," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. They completely saturated all the mechanical and electrical equipment, which is why we have $32 million worth of damage."
The boats are back in service but the city's hoping to get federal help with the cost of repairing both the Staten Island and Whitehall terminals.
As large crowds take advantage of the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan, local officials are still waiting to determine whether the new "fast ferry" from the South Shore will become a permanent fixture.
New York Water Taxi, the company that runs the fast ferry, offered 500 free tickets, but so far, less than 400 riders have taken advantage of the offer.
Molinaro pushed for the new ferry service from Great Kills park to Lower Manhattan, but low ridership could get in the way of making the ferry permanent.
"If there was a need, then the passenger participation would be higher," Molinaro said. "So let's see what happens at the end of the eight weeks."
The temporary service is currently being subsidized by the federal government and is set to end on Jan. 21.
Nick Schraidt, who lives on Staten Island, says the South Shore ferry would cut an hour from his daily commute, but he needs to know how to get to it.
"There hasn't been a lot of information, but if they let people know if there was parking or transfer opportunity for a metro card, I think more people would want to take the fast ferry because it is a faster trip into Manhattan," Schraidt said.