Visit the New Staten Island Ferry

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STATEN ISLAND, NY (PIX11) – Passengers are raving about the new way to get around the city.

The first of three new Staten Island ferries has been in service for a few weeks, traveling between St. George, Staten Island and Lower Manhattan.

Training is underway in preparation for the next new launch in the spring. Each of the $85 million boats will have new features.

PIX11 News caught up with NYC Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner John Garvey for a tour of the new class of boats.

They have a wider set of deck windows, as well as new security upgrades and technological advancements. Ships can turn and maneuver more easily, and they are more resilient in stormy weather.

“It’s quieter, there’s less vibration, and it moves a little faster,” Garvey said.

Racers helped select the shape of the new seats, and there’s additional outdoor space that wraps around the boat. Another upgrade: phone chargers.

The first boat is named after Staff Sergeant Michael H. Ollis. The 24-year-old New Dorp native served in the military and was killed in Afghanistan in 2013. A plaque is mounted near the main entrance to honor his service and explain the name of the boat.

The second boat is named “Sandy Ground” for the community settled by African Americans after the abolition of slavery in New York. It should be in service this spring.

The third boat will pay homage to Dorothy Day, a revered social activist and journalist who spent decades on the island’s south shore. This will also be in service later this year.

In 2014, the city ordered three new ships to replace older models.

Before the pandemic, 25 million commuters and tourists were transported via the Staten Island Ferry. Ridership has returned and currently about 25% of normal numbers are making trips. It always works 24 hours a day and it’s always free.

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