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Staten Island Ferry Service Could be Extended to Midtown

By Noah Hurowitz | July 29, 2016 1:41pm | Updated on August 1, 2016 8:36am
 Staten Island Ferry service could be extended past the Whitehall stop.
Staten Island Ferry service could be extended past the Whitehall stop.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STATEN ISLAND — Staten Island Ferry service could be extended past the Whitehall stop into Midtown or to Wall Street in an effort to ease a "hellish daily commute," the Department of Transportation said.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg pledged to look into adding ferry stops at Wall Street or the East 34th Street docks in a letter sent Thursday to Staten Island's Borough President James Oddo.

“In our continued effort to improve service for ferry riders, the Department of Transportation has already begun to look into the possibility of expanding ferry service to alternate destinations such as Pier 11 and East 34th Street in Manhattan based on your request,” Trottenberg wrote. 

The commissioner's response came a day after Oddo criticized the agency on Twitter for not responding to his April 7 letter, asking the DOT to consider extending the ferry service.

In the April 7 letter, Oddo demanded relief for Staten Island commuters, whom he called “among the most put-upon in the nation."

“Far too many commuters are forced to take the Staten Island Railway to the ferry, and then get back on the subway in lower Manhattan,” Oddo wrote.

“Their only alternative is an express bus that may take as long as two hours to get to Midtown. A four hour commute to and from work is simply unacceptable.”

Staten Island commuters have the longest commute in the nation, a daily journey that Oddo called "hellish."

To make the extension possible, Oddo suggested a new type of ferry from St. George or modifications to existing terminals on both sides of the harbor.

The Pier 11/Wall Street and East 34 Street docks provide service to commuters taking the East River Ferry and New York Water Taxi, both of which are much smaller boats than the Staten Island Ferry.

After apologizing for the late response, and in addition to promising to look into the matter, Trottenberg reminded Oddo of the estimated $300 million being poured into three new ferries that will carry 4,500 passengers.

The borough president was scheduled to meet with DOT representatives on Monday to discuss the issue, according to a spokeswoman for Oddo.

In a statement, Oddo thanked the agency for getting back to him, even after "taking some time to respond".

“We're always looking for ways to improve the hellish daily commute endured by Staten Islanders," Oddo said.

"The Staten Island Ferry is a reliable mass transit option, so it makes sense to figure out how to use it in new ways to improve that commute."