Photo Courtesy of Edwin Torres/Mayoral Photography Office
The popular NYC Ferry launched on May 1.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach) on Monday called on the City Economic Development Corporation, which administers the new NYC Ferry, to immediately switch from a proprietary-only fare system to honoring Metropolitan Transportation Authority MetroCards, so that seniors, disabled citizens, and students don’t get double-charged for using the ferry.
According to the assemblywoman, EDC offers a monthly senior/disabled pass, but the program requires that the customer mail in their proof of disability or existing MTA reduced-fare eligibility in order to be certified, and that they pay the same amount (50 percent) for the extra ferry pass that they do for their MTA pass. Students, Pheffer Amato said, get special MTA passes based on their distance from school, but those passes cannot be used on the ferry.
“Mass transit is supposed to be most helpful to those who have the hardest time getting around,” Pheffer Amato added. “I know for a fact that the ferry would allow our seniors and students to reengage hugely with everything the city has to offer. But right now, if they make use of this great new option, they have to pay double for a monthly pass and get certified twice. That’s unfair, and it makes no sense.”
However, NYCEDC told The Forum this week that that’s not the case. According to spokeswoman Stephanie Baez, although the two transportation systems are not currently integrated, all NYC Ferry costs are aligned with the costs of the MetroCard and offer similar discounts for seniors, children, and people with disabilities. Transfers within the ferry network are free of charge.
Additionally, Baez said, “It is our understanding that the MTA is planning to phase out use of the existing MetroCard system and is exploring next generation payment methods. Once the new MTA payment option is known, we will continue to look for ways to integrate payment options with NYC Ferry. In the meantime, we remain focused on initial rollout of NYC Ferry for this year and in 2018.”