Staten Island Ferry runs on reduced schedule due to ‘labor challenges’

Staten Island Ferry runs on reduced schedule due to 'labor challenges'

Staffing issues are making waves for Staten Island Ferry commuters as the city announced an abbreviated schedule on Wednesday.

Citing “ongoing labor challenges,” Mayor Eric Adams said a “significant share” of the ferry workforce did not show up to work on Wednesday, leading to reduced service running every hour from 3 pm on Wednesday through 5 am on Thursday. The staffing snafu comes as the Staten Island Ferry has already been grappling with a labor shortage largely due to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, the maritime labor union that represents the Staten Island Ferry workers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in previous reports, the union has said that staffing shortages were also partly because of “woefully low wages and high competition in maritime jobs.”

In a statement, the mayor said the city had already been making adjustments to the Staten Island Ferry service due to the ongoing city staffing shortages. He said his office will work with the ferry workers’ union to reach a bargaining agreement.

“We will continue to monitor this situation extremely closely. We are constantly working to make sure that Staten Islanders and all New Yorkers can travel seamlessly between Manhattan and Staten Island, and we will do everything we can to make that happen during this disruption,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.

“If you are not sick, New Yorkers need you to come to work,” Adams said in a statement.

Because of the delay, the New York City Ferry Service will offer a free direct line between Battery Maritime Building Slip 5 in Manhattan and the NYC Ferry St. George Terminal landing in Staten Island every 15 minutes from 3:30 pm through 10 pm Wednesday. The free direct line will continue at 6:30 am Thursday and end at an undetermined time, according to the NYC Department of Transportation.

Ferries, which normally run every 30 minutes and every 15 minutes during rush hour during regular operations, will depart from St. George Terminal on Staten Island at the top of every hour and from Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan at the half-hour mark.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority also announced additional transit services in response to the Staten Island Ferry delays.

“Adjustments have been made to bus and train schedules where possible at the city’s request to assist in getting people home to Staten Island during the afternoon rush period,” New York City Transit Chief Operating Officer Craig Cipriano said in a statement late Wednesday afternoon. “We recognize the fluid nature of the situation and the MTA is doing what it can to assist commuters who might otherwise become stranded due to reduced ferry options.”

The agency said there would be increased express bus service on the SIMI/SIMIC line at Hylan Boulevard, SIM3/SIM3C line at Port Richmond and SIM4/SIM4C line at Richmond Avenue.

Passengers can also take the Brooklyn-bound R train from Whitehall Street-South Ferry to 86th Street and 4 Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the MTA said. From there, passengers can take the S79, SBS, S53 or S93 bus line to Staten Island.

Passengers can also take the Staten Island Railway, which is operating on a normal schedule but will be adjusted if there are capacity issues, according to the MTA.

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