The Jersey City Council will vote on a New York Waterway contract for the Porte Liberte Ferry Terminal five days a week, utilizing $4 million in state funding to reduce fares by about 40 percent.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We acquired the ferry terminal to have an active role in subsidizing rates and providing greater and more equitable access to critical transportation services that our residents from Greenville to Bergen-Lafayette need,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“We are exceeding our goals in closing transportation gaps and expanding our transit infrastructure through Via Jersey City, which we launched in 2020. The Port Liberte Ferry Terminal was previously an underutilized asset. With this resolution, we will make the most of our existing resources and connect residents to the terminal who may not otherwise have access to ferry services.”
With the aforementioned state funding, fares to and from the Port Liberte terminal will be discounted by nearly 40 percent from previous levels to $8 each way and the city first entered into contract negotiations on this project back in June.
NY Waterway had previously operated out of the Port Liberte Ferry Terminal until service was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has yet to resume.
Then last year, Fulop proposed the acquisition to provide residents of the Greenville and Bergen-Lafayette neighborhoods with another public transit option to New York City. The ordinance to acquire the terminal for $1 was approved by the council in June.
The measure is sponsored by Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, which is expected since the terminal is located in her district. If approved, ferry service is expected to resume this summer.
“The ferry terminal was historically limited to residents of Port Liberte due to its relatively isolated location. However, our efforts today will open the doors to additional opportunities for residents, especially in our lower-income areas,” she said.
“This is the type of outside-the-box thinking that is changing the way municipalities approach long-standing systemic issues and social equity overall.”
Jersey City’s Department of Infrastructure Director Barkha Patel came out in support of the proposal.
“With this latest expansion, we are advancing the City’s goals of providing sustainable, smart, and efficient transportation infrastructure for our community.”
Ferry services at the Port Liberte Ferry Terminal began operation in April 2003, providing residents with a 17-minute direct trip to Pier 11 in Manhattan.
The average annual ridership for the route was approximately 83,000and the one-way fare rate for adult riders in 2020 was $13.00.
“NY Waterway is delighted to be provisionally selected as the new operator for commuter ferry service out of Port Liberte,” added NY Waterway’s President and CEO Armand Pohan.
“We submitted a highly competitive service proposal and are thrilled that we are getting the opportunity to fulfill it. We look forward to finalizing our agreement with Jersey City and launching this new service as soon as possible.”
The resolution will be introduced at the next city council meeting on Wednesday, May 24th at 6 p.m.