NY Waterway fare increases & cancelations

NY Waterway raises fares, cancels Yankee Clipper

So you think there’s no inflation?

NY Waterway dropped some bombshells for customers recently.

One, the famous Yankee Clipper Ferry was a great, hassle-free way to see NY Yankees games at Yankee Stadium. However, they discontinued the service, citing low-ridership and fuel costs. Guess the high-priced tickets at the Stadium could have also contributed…

Additionally, NY Waterway issued this letter – indicating price increases for several lines, including uptown Hoboken. Skyrocketing fuel costs were culprits for the fare increase, but NY Waterway proudly touted their excellent service during the brutal winter we had and “unwavering commitment” to commuters.

3/23/2010 Update:

NY Waterway on recent fare increases

NY Waterway made a statement about the recent fare increases:

“NY Waterway has not raised fares since June 2008. We held the line throughout 2009, even as costs increased and revenue decreased. Unlike commuters on almost every other form of mass transit in the Metropolitan Area, NY Waterway ferry customers receive no government subsidy. These riders must pay the full cost of maintaining and operating the service. As costs go up, fares must increase. Information on the new fares was posted on the NY Waterway website last week, with an explanation of the increase and a heartfelt message of gratitude to our loyal customers. Notices also were posted in NY Waterway ferry terminals.”

3/22/2010:

Not sure how many of you pay the premium to have the “luxury” commute to and from Manhattan – but whether you noticed or not – the rates for the ferry are going up substantially on April 1st.

Unhappy with the exorbitant NY Waterway rate increases

“I found the new fare schedule on the NY Waterway site yesterday, but there haven’t been any notifications about it to regular ferry riders.

After contacting them yesterday, they posted a note in the Service Advisory section of their site about 2/3 of way down on the page.

Here’s a link to the new fare schedule from the 14th Street terminal…

As you can see, the one-way rate is going up almost 10% (from $7.75 to $8.50) and the monthly fare is going up $20 (+9%) from $232 to $252.

A 9-10% fare hike year-over-year is extreme and it seems that the excessive nature of the increase is the reason why they haven’t publicized this information to the riders. Being a private company, they must not feel they have an obligation to notify people. I just find it interesting that this excessive fare hike hasn’t been publicized while the MTA has been publicly skewered for their fare hikes, which many feel are unfair and actually less than NY Waterway on a percentage basis.

The NY Waterway blames increased operational cost and declining ridership. They increased fares when fuel costs ballooned, but the cost of fuel has since decreased and obviously there wasn’t a fare adjustment. Ridership numbers are down, but how do they expect 9-10% rate increases to retain the riders they do have now? Additionally, the high out-of-pocket cost is enough to scare off potential new customers. It doesn’t make sense. In normal economic climate you can expect businesses to increase rates 5%. Given that the economy is still recovering, the 9-10% fare hike that NY Waterway is trying to quietly pass along does not seem reasonable.”

19 Responses

  1. prag says:

    It’s simply not competitive. Raising the fare makes it more of a “ride” than a real transportation option.

  2. TheGreenMan says:

    For those that complain about NJ transit increases and blame the state and “mismanagement of our precious taxes” or whatever, keep in mind that if mass transit was privatized, this is a small-scale example of the possible consequences. With nobody to answer to except their own profit motives, there’s no reason to be accountable to anyone. Plus, the service could hypothetically shut down if it’s not found to be profitable. The side-effect is an increase of auto traffic through the tunnels as everyone that used mass transit now gets in the car again.

    Even aside from that, I don’t think the ferry company is thinking that LOWERING the fee could increase ridership enough to make it MORE profitable. It’s like a pizza place thinking “wait, we could charge $10 for a slice and make 5x what we’re making now!”. It’s economics 101. More reasonable fares = more riders = more profit…although the profit per rider is lower. Kind of obvious, since the monthly fees shut most commuters out of the market and drive them to the buses/PATH.

    • CAPITALMARK says:

      Comrades! Use your head. Any idea how expensive it is to fuel and maintain a vessel like that? But it was a beautiful trip to the stadium as opposed to the smelly sardine can experience of the subway. But if you can’t afford it you take the the subway. That’s economics 101. Well back to the USSR for you … oh that’s right they don’t do the communist thing there any more.[quote comment=”189219″]For those that complain about NJ transit increases and blame the state and “mismanagement of our precious taxes” or whatever, keep in mind that if mass transit was privatized, this is a small-scale example of the possible consequences. With nobody to answer to except their own profit motives, there’s no reason to be accountable to anyone. Plus, the service could hypothetically shut down if it’s not found to be profitable. The side-effect is an increase of auto traffic through the tunnels as everyone that used mass transit now gets in the car again.Even aside from that, I don’t think the ferry company is thinking that LOWERING the fee could increase ridership enough to make it MORE profitable. It’s like a pizza place thinking “wait, we could charge $10 for a slice and make 5x what we’re making now!”. It’s economics 101. More reasonable fares = more riders = more profit…although the profit per rider is lower. Kind of obvious, since the monthly fees shut most commuters out of the market and drive them to the buses/PATH.[/quote]

  3. hobokendave says:

    The ferries have always been overpriced, which is why I have never taken them except for “tourist excursions” when friends visit.

    The ferry tickets used to be 3 times the cost of the PATH, now they are 4+ times the cost of a PATH Fare.

  4. oceanbloo says:

    They’re jacking up the prices because NJ Transit is raising bus and light rail fares soon. So NY Waterway is going along for the ride.

    I used to ride the ferry but it just got too expensive. So the bus it is. I’m sure I’m not the only one. NY Waterway is just making itself less competitive.

  5. homeworld says:

    In other threads here, people say how much better NJ Transit would run if it was privatized.

    Well, NY Waterway is a private company.

  6. xyzpdq says:

    I think $8.50 a ride will kill off the uptown ferry. It’s just not worth it unless the Lincoln Tunnel is closed. NYWaterway has been mismanaged since 9/11/01. On their website the founder complains it’s been a hassle to move their maintenance operations from Weehawken down to Hoboken Terminal. If he hadn’t sold off all the Weehawken Ferry land for condos they wouldn’t have that issue.

    • getz76 says:

      Actually, the ferry has been mismanaged for longer than that.

      I have seen NYW’s financials, and believe me they are not running much of a profit. Between diesel fuel, ship maintenance and crew salaries, they struggle to remain solvent. Their biggest problem is the fleet and the maintenance required.

      It is hard to compete with the highly subsidized alternatives. It is a shame, since it really is a lovely commute.

      In response to xyzpdq who said:

      I think $8.50 a ride will kill off the uptown ferry. It’s just not worth it unless the Lincoln Tunnel is closed. NYWaterway has been mismanaged since 9/11/01. On their website the founder complains it’s been a hassle to move their maintenance operations from Weehawken down to Hoboken Terminal. If he hadn’t sold off all the Weehawken Ferry land for condos they wouldn’t have that issue.

  7. rag246 says:

    $8.50??? Hell, I can take the train from Bergen county into Penn for less than that.

    These ferrys will be gone in two years. Good thing for that fancy new terminal in Weehawken / Edgewater. I wouldn’t want to be those bondholders…

  8. emarche says:

    Yep – seconded. Say goodnight to the uptown ferry.

  9. legendkiller says:

    talk about going down with the ship.

  10. Redstorm says:

    Get used to it…taxes and fees are going to go up on EVERYTHING….

    • rag246 says:

      That’s what happens when you loan 4 trillion dollars into the economy to fuel a false economic expansion based on asset appreciation.

      The debt’s all bad but too late, the money’s changed hands and been spent.

      Thank your local mortgage broker and Realtor. And Alan Greenspan.

      In response to Redstorm who said:

      Get used to it…taxes and fees are going to go up on EVERYTHING….

  11. hudson says:

    If you ask me I’d rather a private company running a business over government any day. Mismanagement in the private sector and you are gone. No one forces anyone to ride the ferry. If they raise prices too high people will go elsewhere and they will go under or change. If the government ran it they would just pump in more tax money despite the facts. I mean look at the Post Office. A private company moves and acts while a government run business does business as usual. They don’t need to fight for their life when they’ll be supported regardless.

    I ride the ferry every day. The price mark up has not made me leave yet. Honestly there is no better option when you work on the east side than the ferry. Right now my pass is 232, if there are 20 business days a month that comes out to 5.8 each way, with the increase 6.30 each way. The bus or the path with the added subway trip does not come in that much less each way and is far more painful of a commute not to mention time consuming. I am not sure at what price I will take my business. Definitely not yet!

    • tjp111 says:

      Really? 6.30 each way vs. 3.95 each way? That is over a hundred bucks month savings.

      unlimited PATH@ 54 + unlimited subway@ 104 = 158/40 trips a month = 3.95
      new monthly boat @ 272/40 trips a month = 6.80 (not 6.30)

      And not mention with the unlimited you can use the PATH and subway any time including weekends or multiple times a day so it gets even cheaper the more you use it. So saving 1200+ dollars a year or let’s put it this way an average month’s rent for Hoboken.

      Just makes fiscal sense from a personal budget perspective.

      I am going to miss the Yankee Clipper though the convenience was worth the money.
      [quote comment=”189330″]If you ask me I’d rather a private company running a business over government any day. Mismanagement in the private sector and you are gone. No one forces anyone to ride the ferry. If they raise prices too high people will go elsewhere and they will go under or change. If the government ran it they would just pump in more tax money despite the facts. I mean look at the Post Office. A private company moves and acts while a government run business does business as usual. They don’t need to fight for their life when they’ll be supported regardless. I ride the ferry every day. The price mark up has not made me leave yet. Honestly there is no better option when you work on the east side than the ferry. Right now my pass is 232, if there are 20 business days a month that comes out to 5.8 each way, with the increase 6.30 each way. The bus or the path with the added subway trip does not come in that much less each way and is far more painful of a commute not to mention time consuming. I am not sure at what price I will take my business. Definitely not yet![/quote]

  12. YipYap says:

    re: “NY Waterway ferry customers receive no government subsidy.”

    Err who built and paid for the Ferry Terminals, as well as the trains leading to the Ferry Terminals? Who owns the land that the Ferry Terminals are built on?

    They should open these public Ferry Terminals up for competition. At $8.50 a ride I am sure someone can run a cheaper service, using smaller more fuel efficient Ferry boats. If you have ever been to Hong Kong you would know there is more than one Ferry and they are much cheaper.

  13. 4th Ward Guardian says:

    This boondoggle will be over soon. The ferry system is unsustainable without massive subsidies. Take it while you can because it won’t be running at all a few years from now, or will just revert to the original Weehawken-based routes.

  14. adamc says:

    The ferry is too expensive!

  15. xxrjxx says:

    Holy late postings Batman!!! 😆

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