Tourists and New Yorkers who don’t live in Staten Island may have to pay to ride the Staten Island Ferry. At least that’s the premise of a new report that was released on Wednesday by the city’s Independent Budget Office.
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Instituting a $4 tourist fare on the Staten Island Ferry could prove profitable for the city, according to the study, raising $2.4 million a year.
As one payment option, MetroCard turnstiles would be placed at Whitehall and St. George terminals and people living outside of Staten Island would be charged to ride. Residents from the other boroughs working in Staten Island would be exempt from the fee.
The alternate option is a stand-along fare system consisting of tickets valid only on the ferry, plus a “smart card,” again allowing any New York City resident working in Staten Island to travel for free.
Borough President James Oddo said that new hotels and businesses that have opened recently will encourage travel to the borough as well as the world’s largest ferry wheel slated to open in 2016, alongside 80-some outlet stores tucked into St. George corner facing the Manhattan skyline, the biggest private investment in the borough at $580 million since the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the 1960s.
Frank Jones, owner of Ruddy and Dean, a 20-year-old steakhouse is excited by the thought of a “new flux of tourists.”
"They'll shop and spend more money,” he said.