Ride free Staten Island ferry in NYC
The Staten Island Ferry is a passenger ferry service operated by the New York City Department of Transportation that runs between Manhattan Island and Staten Island. The ferry departs Manhattan from South Ferry, Peter Minuit Plaza, at the southernmost tip of Manhattan near Battery Park. On Staten Island, the ferry arrives and departs from St. George Ferry Terminal on Richmond Terrace, near Richmond County Borough Hall and Richmond County Supreme Court. Service is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Staten Island Ferry is the most reliable form of mass transit, with an on-time performance of over 96 percent. The Staten Island Ferry has been a municipal service since 1905, and currently carries over 21 million passengers annually on the 5.2-mile run.
The five mile journey takes about 25 minutes each way. The ferry is now free of charge, though riders must disembark at each terminal and reenter through the terminal building for a round trip to comply with Coast Guard regulations regarding vessel capacity and the placeholding optical turnstiles at both terminals. Bicycles may also be taken on the lowest deck of the ferry without charge. In the past, ferries were equipped for vehicle transport, at a charge of $3 per automobile; however, vehicles have not been allowed on the ferry since the September 11, 2001, attacks.
For most of the 20th century, the ferry was famed as the biggest bargain in New York City. It charged the same five cent fare as the New York Subway but the ferry fare remained a nickel when the subway fare increased to 10 cents in 1948. In 1970 then-Mayor John V. Lindsay proposed that the fare be raised to 25 cents, pointing out that the cost for each ride was 50 cents, or ten times what the fare brought in. On August 4, 1975, the nickel fare ended and the charge became 25 cents for a round trip, the quarter being collected in one direction only. The round trip increased to 50 cents in 1990, but then was eliminated altogether in 1997.