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NYC is seeking “guaranteed revenue” from its costly ferry service

Mayor Eric Adams wants to limit the losses of the city’s popular but money-burning ferry system by encouraging potential operators to find new ways to generate revenue — including renting, concessions and advertising.

City Hall on Wednesday issued a “Call for Proposals” from potential ferry operators that specifically requires them to devise a “revenue generation plan” that will inject cash into the city coffers to offset the massive municipal subsidies that currently fund the service.

The city’s taxpayers subsidize ferry rides by up to $14.75 a trip, according to a recent audit by city auditor Brad Lander — though the ferry’s affluent clientele pays just $2.75 for the trip.

Adams vowed in July to increase the base fare to $4 starting September 12, while also offering a 10-ticket package for $27.50.

Hizzoner has insisted the ferry isn’t just for the affluent, echoing claims by his predecessor Bill de Blasio, who expanded the service and introduced the $2.75 fare to offset the cost of an MTA bus or subway ride to match.

Though he became mayor with a promise to end a class division he described as a “story of two cities,” de Blasio aggressively promoted the ferry service, which has a ridership with average annual earnings between $100,000 and $150,000, according to The Post exclusively unveiled in 2020.

Eric Adams.
In July, Mayor Eric Adams pledged to raise the base fare for the ferry to $4 starting September 12.
James Keivom

Ferry rides previously cost $4 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

NYC Ferry’s daily ridership for the first three months of 2022 was just 11,688 on weekdays and 12,984 on weekends. Summer ridership is higher but has only just returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, according to city officials.

According to the tender, possible new sources of income are film shoots and private events that do not require cost savings from ferry operations.

Docked ferry.
Adams has asked potential operators to find new ways to generate revenue.
William Farington

City officials and outside experts have warned that fares that are too high could discourage ridership and reduce revenue.

“Operationally, not much seems to change,” said Sean Campion of the Citizens Budget Commission. “They want to operate a more financially sustainable ferry system. They’ve addressed some of that by raising tariffs — and now they’re hoping to come up with new revenue ideas and a new private operating model that’s more cost-effective.”

Current ferry operator Hornblower plans to come up with a proposal to continue operating the service, the company told non-profit news agency The City, which first reported on the tender.

“Today, no other operator is better prepared to build on the system’s early success and fulfill the vision of creating a fairer and more accessible NYC ferry,” said Kevin Rabbitt, Hornblower CEO.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/08/nyc-seeks-guaranteed-revenue-from-its-costly-ferry-service/ NYC is seeking “guaranteed revenue” from its costly ferry service

JACLYN DIAZ

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