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Bayonne, N.J., Ferry Terminal Construction Should Finally Start After Winter

Tue November 09, 2021 - Northeast Edition
Bayonne News


SeaStreak LLC was tapped by the Bayonne city council as the ferry operator in 2019. The size of the vessels would depend on customer demand once the service is operating.
SeaStreak LLC was tapped by the Bayonne city council as the ferry operator in 2019. The size of the vessels would depend on customer demand once the service is operating.

Barring any further delays, ferry service to Manhattan should be available to Bayonne, N.J., residents in 2022, after the construction on a terminal is resumed following a work stoppage due in part to COVID-19 last year.

"Springtime appears to be when ferry service would be likely at this point," said Joe Ryan, public information officer of the city of Bayonne, in speaking with the local newspaper.

The terminal was previously supposed to begin service in September 2020, but those plans were announced before the onset of the global pandemic.

COVID-19, though, was not the only thing that caused the project to be delayed.

In the past, the city was awaiting a permit from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Bayonne officials have since received that go ahead, and another from the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers, according to Ryan. Now, they are waiting on yet another permit from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

The city also is in discussions with the Towboat and Harbor Carriers Association, on recommendation of the U.S. Coast Guard, to ensure the ferry route would not interfere with existing marine traffic, Ryan told the Bayonne News.

SeaStreak LLC was tapped by the Bayonne city council as the ferry operator in 2019. The size of the vessels would depend on customer demand once the service is operating.

Ground has not yet been broken on the planned ferry terminal as construction of the Bayonne facility will commence after the winter, according to Ryan. In addition, he said, a contractor has not been chosen for the building project, and the city is not far along in the process, due to complications over the property's situation.

"There are a number of other steps that have to be taken before getting there," he said, adding, "The ferry terminal needs to be built. Given a variety of factors, springtime is what I was told. We're not there yet."

Breaking Even

At its February 2020 meeting, the Bayonne City Council adopted an ordinance authorizing a 10-year, $2.6 million lease with the PANYNJ for the ferry terminal on the Hudson. Under the terms, the city will operate and maintain the ferry landing, the Bayonne News reported.

The new ferry service lease will cost the city approximately $220,000 in each year of the deal. In the agreement, Bayonne will pay the lease of the ferry terminal until the service breaks even. Following that, the city will split the profits with the ferry service. Officials estimate that will occur once the service reaches an average of 350 passengers per day, which is estimated to take around a year to reach.

Bayonne has committed a federal grant of $650,000 toward the project's construction, and several developers also have contributed to the ferry terminal's funding. It is estimated that the terminal's total construction cost will be around $1.6 million.

A New Ferry Service to New York City

The new ferry system will provide an alternative for commuters and encourage more drivers to take public transportation. There has been ferry service to Manhattan intermittently for decades, but it has been about a decade since one last operated in Bayonne.

In the past, city officials said they would make the rates competitive with other Hudson River ferries to encourage residents to use the new service. For the first year of operation, the terminal also will offer free parking, the News noted.

The new facility will be built on the south side of the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY), about a mile past the Costco shopping center. With several developments nearby, the goal is to attract potential residents to the numerous new apartments in Bayonne, local officials said.

The ferry service drop-off location will be somewhere in lower Manhattan, but that has not yet been finalized.




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