Bayonne council approves 10-year, $250k lease with Port Authority to move ferry project forward

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The Bayonne City Council approved a leasing agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at last night’s meeting that will allow them to move forward with providing ferry service to Manhattan.

“We approved the lease and making SeaStreak the official carrier for our passenger ferry here in Bayonne,” Council President Sharon Nadrowski said in an interview with HCV after the meeting concluded.

“As far as why it took so long, because we were dealing with the Port Authority and the Port Authority is involved in this project because it is their property and working with the Port Authority is never a speedy process, but we managed to get all the negotiated terms out there.”

The add-on resolution was approved unanimously (5-0) at the tail end of the council meeting and Nadrowski said that Bayonne officials are cautiously optimistic that the ferry service will be available by April or May of 2020.

According to the local legislation, the lease for the land at the former Military Ocean Terminal is for 10 years, with SeaStreak estimating that ferry service will cost $1.4 million annually (based on 400 passengers a day).

The lease is rent free until the city reached the “break even” point, where the city would then receive 50 percent of the revenues until the Port Authority lease, approximately $250,000, is paid off.

She further stated that fare prices are still being negotiated, though was able to confirm that the ferries are currently scheduled to run every 35 minutes between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. in the morning and from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. at night.

“That’s until ridership picks up, when ridership picks up, it’ll grow as needed,” Nadrowski added.

“It’s a great way for commuting for anyone that works in Manhattan and it’ll help alleviate other transportation venues that are pretty crowded here in Bayonne, and it’s really anticipated – something that the people wanted, something that we promised on and we’re excited to deliver on.”

In June 2018, the City of Bayonne released their request for proposals seeking a ferry operator, later selecting SeaStreak at the end of October before the process stalled.

A Port Authority spokeswoman did not immediately return an email seeking comment.