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.”