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Ferry Case Studies 19 · Twenty-five respondents operated one to two lines, ten respondents had three to six lines, and six respondents had seven or more lines. The complete results of the survey are included in Appendix B. About the Case Studies Based on the findings from the ferry operator survey, the research team focused on in- depth case studies of eight ferry systems or operators. In some cases, the case study focused on one operator; in other cases, entire systems comprising multiple operators in one region were considered. The eight ferry systems/operators selected for the case studies were · ConnecticutLong Island (New York) ferry services · New York Harbor ferries · North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division · U.S. Virgin Islands ferry services · Washington Island Ferry Line (Wisconsin) · Seattle Metropolitan Ferry System (Washington) · Hawaii Superferry Service · BC Ferries (British Columbia, Canada) It should be noted that the Hawaii Superferry system was not implemented; however, as a case study, it provides important examples of actual and potential causes of failure. Based on both the case studies and on the earlier survey of ferry operators, ferry services in North America can be broadly categorized as either passenger systems in primarily metropolitan/urban areas or as essential highway extensions in more rural areas and island and coastal communities. Within these categories, the planning, marketing, and expectations of each type of service are dissimi- lar, even while the actual operations of the vessels are similar. Each of the eight case studies opens with "Quickfacts," a table listing basic data about the ser- vice including service category, number of routes, number of vessels, annual number of passen- gers, annual number of vehicles, and the age of the fleet. Each case study continues with sections describing the ferry operator/system history, organizational structure, operational structure, financial structure, and planning issues. ConnecticutLong Island (New York) Ferry Services Quickfacts Operator Service Category # of # of Annual Annual Fleet Routes Vessels Passengers Vehicles Age (years) Port Jefferson HighwayFerry 1 3 1,000,000 380,000 724 Ferry Essential a Cross Sound HighwayFerry 1 8 1,300,000 450,000 2169 Ferry Essential/ TransitFerry Intercity Viking Ferry TransitFerry 1 1 ~2,000 n/ac 5 Linesb Intercity a Includes 195,000 fast-ferry passengers. b Please note that because Viking Ferry Lines has limited service (only on weekends during the summer), limited analysis is provided below. c Not applicable.
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20 Guidelines for Ferry Transportation Services History Modern daytime ferry service between Connecticut and Long Island began in 1884 when the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company (Port Jefferson Ferry) began operation from the Connecticut shore to the midpoint of Long Island, New York. While other maritime services had operated (often on a weekly or twice-weekly schedule), the new daily scheduled service (dur- ing all seasons except winter when service was provided 3 days per week) transported Long Island farmers and their agricultural products to Connecticut and allowed Bridgeport merchants to sell products to farmers in turn (Sheahan & Conniff, 1983). The Port Jefferson Ferry began with one vessel; in 1889, the owners purchased a larger, 600- passenger vessel. When automobiles became common, the Port Jefferson vessels were retro- fitted to carry them, and this became an increasingly important revenue source for the company. By the 1920s, traffic had increased enough to require a second vessel. The Depression caused traf- fic to drop, but with World War II passenger and freight traffic increased. In the late 1960s, the company had purchased a used vessel to add to the fleet. While there was recurring considera- tion of bridging Long Island Sound, the projects never occurred, and the Port Jefferson Ferry continued to be the primary access from Central Long Island to Connecticut. In the 1980s, the company added two new, faster vessels: the Grand Republic and the Park City. Two additional vessels were purchased in 1999 and 2003. Service from Stonington, Connecticut, to Greenport, New York (terminal of the Long Island Railroad), began in the mid 1800s. By the 1940s, the service evolved into the New London (Con- necticut) to Orient Point (New York) route that currently operates (Cambridge Systematics, Inc., et al., 2005). In 1975, John Wronowski purchased the New London Freight Lines ferry service and changed the name of the ferry service operating between New London and Orient Point to Cross Sound Ferry Services Incorporated. Starting with three vessels purchased from the previous operator, Cross Sound began an incremental but consistent capital improvement program. In 1978, the company developed a new ferry terminal just to the north of the existing New London Amtrak Station. New vessels were purchased in 1977, 1979, and 1983, and in 1984, the company pur- chased and rebuilt an existing vessel. In 1989, 1998, 1999, and 2003 additional vessels were added to the fleet (Cross Sound Ferry Service, Inc., 2008). In 1995, Cross Sound added a high-speed ferry to complement its conventional vehicle ferry. The Connecticut casinos had increased walk-on passengers to the point where the existing pas- sengers were being inconvenienced. The Sea Jet 1 is a wave-piercing catamaran designed in Aus- tralia and built in Washington state. Both the ride-control system and the water jets were ini- tially unreliable, but over a period of about 5 years, Cross Sound staff brought the vessel to a high level of service reliability (Interview with Cross Sound Ferry, January 7, 2010). Both Cross Sound and the Port Jefferson Ferry report that passenger volumes have declined by about 10 to 15 percent and vehicular volumes are about 10 to 25 lower than 2004, which rep- resents the highest year. In addition, both carriers noted that truck volumes, which are prima- rily agricultural and construction related, declined by as much as 40 percent Organizational Structure Both the Port Jefferson Ferry and Cross Sound Ferry Service are privately owned and are part of larger maritime enterprises. The Port Jefferson Ferry was purchased in 1961 by the McAlllister Towing and Transporta- tion Company, which operates 70 tugboats and 24 tractor tugs in 12 ports. The Port Jefferson Ferry owns the terminal in Port Jefferson but leases a terminal in downtown Bridgeport from the Bridgeport Port Authority.
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Ferry Case Studies 21 Table 5-1. ConnecticutLong Island ferry system routes. Operator Route Service Service Crossing Season Schedule Time Port Jefferson BridgeportPort Year-Round 60 min--peak season 75 min Ferry Jefferson Departures and peak days 90 min--other times Cross Sound New London Year-Round 60 min 90 min Ferry Orient Point Departures Viking Fleet New London Seasonal Selected sailing days 60 min Ferries Montauk Cross Sound Ferry Service is part of the Wronowski Marine Companies, which includes Thames Towboat Company, Thames Shipyard & Repair, and Block Island Ferry Services. The Wronowski enterprises employ up to 400 people and have an annual payroll of approximately $16 million. All facilities used by Cross Sound Ferries, including terminals and vessels, are owned by the company. It should be noted that the company has received public funding to repower its vessels to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Operational Structure System/Service Routes Three private operators provide service across Long Island Sound, as shown in Table 5-1 and Figure 5-1. Figure 5-1. ConnecticutLong Island ferries route map.
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22 Guidelines for Ferry Transportation Services Figure 5-2. Port Jefferson ferry approaching the Long Island terminal. BridgeportPort Jefferson Ferry. The BridgeportPort Jefferson route is operated by Port Jefferson Ferry. The crossing time between Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Port Jefferson, New York, is about 75 minutes one way. Port Jefferson Ferry uses three vessels to provide ferry service: the Grand Republic, the P. T. Barnum, and the Park City. Figures 5-2 and 5-3 show photographs of Port Jefferson ferries. The Bridgeport ferry terminal is located in downtown Bridgeport and is adjacent to the Bridge- port train station. Bridgeport is Connecticut's largest city and is about 60 miles east of New York City. The company leases about 3.5 acres, including the terminal and dock, from the Bridgeport Port Authority. The facility provides space for automobile queuing, as well as limited kiss-and- ride capacity. The Bridgeport Port Authority is planning to build an onsite garage for the ferry ter- minal; in the meantime, automobile parking is also available in structured parking on the other side of the train tracks and freeway. There is a large structured lot close to the ferry terminal, and ferry passengers are allowed to use it on weekdays and on weekends when there are no stadium/ Figure 5-3. Port Jefferson ferry vehicle deck.
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Ferry Case Studies 23 arena events. The Bridgeport ferry terminal provides good intermodal connectivity between com- muter and intercity rail and local and intercity bus service and good vehicular access from the Connecticut Turnpike. The parking access is limited, and the pedestrian path from the structured parking into the terminal is not attractive. The elevated Interstate highway and railroad structures create a large visual and physical barrier between the ferry terminal (and the waterfront) and the downtown. Cross Sound Ferry. Cross Sound Ferry operates a ferry route across Long Island Sound from New London, Connecticut, to Orient Point, New York. The New LondonOrient Point Ferry operates year-round from the New London train/bus station to the far northern tip of Long Island at Orient Point. The one-way crossing time is 75 to 80 minutes. During the summer, ser- vice operates every 90 minutes; on Fridays, Sundays, and holidays, ferries operate as frequently as hourly. In the winter, service is reduced to seven round trips on weekdays. Cross Sound Ferry has a fleet of seven conventional ferries that operate at speeds between 12 and 15 knots and can carry from 22 to 120 automobiles and from 130 to 1,000 passengers. In addition to the conventional ferries, during the spring and summer, Cross Sound also oper- ates a high-speed (30-knot) ferry on the same route (Sea Jet 1). This ferry seats 400 passengers but carries no vehicles. The Sea Jet1 can sail between Long Island and New London in about 40 minutes and operates up to six round trips daily. Both the New London Ferry Terminal and the Orient Point Terminal are owned by Cross Sound Ferry. In New London, the ferry terminal is adjacent to downtown and the train station and intercity bus station and also has connections to the local transit system. About 11 Amtrak trains serve the train station in each direction daily. However, the railroad has an at-grade cross- ing, which creates an awkward pedestrian path connecting downtown, the train, and the ferry. Automobile parking for ferry passengers is available in a municipal garage nearby. Shuttle buses operate to the Foxwoods Casino, and New England colleges often shuttle students to the New London Ferry Terminal when school sessions begin and end. The New London Ferry Terminal is located on a 30-acre site at the mouth of the Thames River, with queuing areas leading to the conventional automobile ferry and a separate dock for the high-speed catamaran. The terminal uses an Internet-based reservations system that provides the customer with the ability to print a bar-coded boarding pass. Orient Point is located at the east end of Long Island's North Fork. Access from the west is via NY Highway 25, a two-lane rural road. The terminal has a queuing area for the conventional vehicle ferries and a parking lot with space for about 250 automobiles. The Long Island Railroad (LIRR) terminal in Greenport is about 7 miles to the west. Monday through Saturday bus ser- vice is provided hourly during daytime periods and connects Orient Point with Greenport and Riverhead. During 20032004, Long Island Sound communities studied the potential of ferry service between Connecticut and Long Island and between Connecticut and Manhattan. More than 50 possible sites were investigated for possible service and were ranked based on community acceptance, land use compatibility, and technical and market feasibility. The study identified six fast ferry routes (including two routes already operated by conventional craft) as viable, and two new conventional ferry routes in the first screening. However, after further technical review and comments from local governments, the study recommended only one new Connecticut to Long Island service and three Connecticut to Manhattan services. Several water taxi services were also recommended for further study. Viking Fleet Ferries. During the summer season, Viking Fleet Ferries operates a ferry service from Montauk, New York, to Cross Sound's New London Terminal. This service only operates on
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24 Guidelines for Ferry Transportation Services Friday and Sundays and some holidays. The crossing time from Montauk to New London is about one hour. Viking Fleet uses a 225-passenger monohull to provide this service. Viking Fleet is pri- marily a party fishing operator but also operates daily scheduled ferry service from Montauk to Block Island, Rhode Island. Facility and Vessel Maintenance BridgeportPort Jefferson Ferry. The Port Jefferson Ferry vessels carry 85 to 120 automo- biles and 1,000 passengers. Over the last several years, the ferry company has received federal funding to repower its vessels with more modern and fuel-efficient (and less carbon-intensive) engines. Not only have emissions been reduced by about 13 percent, but power has been increased to 1,000 horsepower, and the engines operate with less vibration and noise. At Bridgeport, Port Jefferson Ferry pays a rent of about $150,000 annually (including the util- ities), which includes dock access, the queuing area, and a modest terminal structure. In addi- tion, the Port Authority charges about $1 per passenger, which is, in effect, a passenger facili- ties charge. This charge has been litigated between the Port Authority and BridgeportPort Jefferson Ferry and is currently in court for final disposition. In response to the Port Author- ity's passenger tariff, the ferry company has proposed to relocate to another site, away from downtown Bridgeport. On Long Island, Port Jefferson Ferry owns the ferry terminal and about 280 linear feet of shoreline to perform maintenance work and administrative functions at the Port Jefferson Ter- minal. The Town of Brookhaven and the Village of Port Jefferson provide several parking lots, totaling about 200 spaces, within walking distance of the Port Jefferson terminal. The LIRR sta- tion, which has service to New York City, is about a mile south of the ferry terminal. Local bus ser- vice is provided between the ferry terminal and the LIRR station on four routes, with a combined frequency of about every 20 to 30 minutes. Highway access to the ferry dock is via non-grade- separated state highways and local roads. The ferry terminal is about 10 miles from Interstate 495 in Medford on Central Long Island. Cross Sound Ferry. Over the last several years, Cross Sound Ferry, like the Port Jefferson Ferry, has received federal funding to repower its vessels with more modern and fuel-efficient (and less carbon-intensive) engines. Cross Sound Ferry has achieved a 20-percent reduction in emissions and fuel consumption with this retrofit. The company also maintains its vessels and rebuilds engines at its own shops and provides commercial repair services to other vessel operators. Cross Sound esti- mates that its largest ferry, the John H., which carries 120 automobiles and 1,000 passengers, burns about 190 gallons of fuel on each one-way trip. The Sea Jet 1, a 30-knot, 400-passenger-only fast ferry, burns about 130 gallons of fuel on each trip (Adam Wronowski, Cross Sound Ferry, personal communication, March 22, 2010). Staffing Levels BridgeportPort Jefferson Ferry. Port Jefferson Ferry employs about 175 people during the peak season and about 125 in the off-peak periods. Many of the employees have master's licenses, and all maritime employees have licenses. In addition, the company spends about $140,000 annu- ally on security training and monitoring and uses a variety of methods to ensure safe operation. Some of this expense is reimbursed by DHS funding. Cross Sound Ferry. Cross Sound employs about 300 employees in the peak season and about 150 in the off-peak season. The company hires almost all its employees at an entry level, trains the personnel, and encourages all of its maritime employees to become licensed masters. Cross Sound Ferry, like most ferry operators, takes security concerns seriously and has an active training pro-
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Ferry Case Studies 25 Table 5-2. ConnecticutLong Island ferry system route fares. Route Operator Automobile Ferry Fare Adult Child Automobile Bicycle Motorcycle Walk-on Walk-on BridgeportPort Port Jefferson $17.00 Free $51 Free $29.75 Jefferson Ferry New London Cross Sound $14.51 $6.00 $47.67 $4.15 $27.98 Orient Point Ferry (includes (Automobile $2 Port tax) Ferry) a New London $20.21 $6.22 n/ac n/a Orient Point (Sea Jet 1)b New London Viking Fleet $40.00 $25.00 n/a $7 n/a Montauk Ferries a Cross Sound charges a floating "surcharge" against a base fare that reflects changes in fuel prices. b This is a passenger-only ferry. c Not applicable. gram. Employees are trained to be aware and participate in drills and exercises. In addition, the company used federal funds to purchase lighting and surveillance equipment to provide addi- tional security. Financial Structure All ferries providing service between Connecticut and Long Island are privately owned and operated. The only government funding they have received has been for engine upgrades (relat- ing to emissions reductions) and security enhancements. These amounts are minor compared to their passenger and vehicle revenues, which exceed $50 million annually. For ConnecticutLong Island route fares, see Table 5-2. Fares Both Port Jefferson Ferry and Cross Sound Ferry use variable pricing in peak periods. The peak periods for these services are generally on weekends and holidays. During these periods, some discounts--such as unlimited automobile passengers and discounts on trailers/buses, and so forth--are not available. In addition, commuter tickets are also available. Both the Port Jefferson Ferry and the Cross Sound Ferry have vehicle reservation systems. These systems provide the ability to manage vessel capacity and ensure the capacity is well used throughout the day. Market studies conducted by each company indicate that the majority of ferry passengers live on Long Island. For the BridgeportPort Jefferson and Cross Sound Ferry services, about 55 to 60 percent of the passengers originate on Long Island. Most Cross Sound Ferry passengers reside in Suffolk County (the easternmost county). The other 45 percent of passengers are distributed throughout Central and Eastern New England. In addition, Port Jefferson Ferries reports that about 70 percent of its walk-on, return-day-trip passengers originate in Bridgeport (these trips make up about 20 percent of their total passengers). Funding Sources As all of the operators in this case study are privately owned, each garners revenues from a vari- ety of sources. Cross Sound Ferry and Port Jefferson Ferry obtain revenues through passenger fares, onboard and terminal concession stands, and restricted federal emission grants. Viking Ferries also has a large charter and private rental business that supplements their passenger ferry service.
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26 Guidelines for Ferry Transportation Services Planning Issues Both Cross Sound Ferry and Port Jefferson Ferry have large, well-established operations. In interviews, their executives expressed comfort with their maritime operations, their ability to maintain and operate vessels, and their ability to provide necessary capital enhancements needed to maintain market share. Both operators, however, identified government leadership and public policy as important to enhancing the ability of the marine transportation mode to divert automobiles from the highway system and to create more sustainable transportation systems. Both Cross Sound Ferry and Port Jefferson Ferry have experienced challenges in expanding their services due to local concerns and the high financial expense and permitting maze of investing in terminal facilities. Environmental and Regulatory Issues From a systems perspective, both Cross Sound Ferry and Port Jefferson Ferry noted that fer- ries could decrease energy consumption and help achieve other public policy goals. However, there is not a consistent recognition of the importance of and the opportunities provided by a marine highway system. The Long Island Sound Waterborne Transportation Plan (2005) esti- mated that ferries captured about 23 percent of the Long IslandConnecticut travel. Ferries carry about 2.3 million passengers annually, which means that approximately 7.7 million passengers between Connecticut and Long Island use highway modes annually (or about 25,000 trips daily) (Cambridge Systematics, Inc., et al., 2005). Travel between Connecticut and Long Island can be accomplished via ferry or automobile. The ferry operators think of their catchment areas as an oblong circle where their Long Island terminals are located west of the midpoint. Trips within that oblong are ferry-competitive but trips outside are not. For comparison, Table 5-3 provides data for the trip from Huntington, New York, to Bridgeport, Connecticut, on highway and ferry. Table 5-4 shows the change in travel time and fuel use with a fast-ferry option. Table 5-5 provides data for a different trip from Long Island to New London via either high- way or ferry. As ferry speeds increase (or highway travel times decrease), the ferry catchment area increases because the ferry travel times become more competitive than the highway travel times. In all cases, using the ferry results in fuel usage reductions of about 15% to 25%, depending on automobile occupancy (the lower the automobile occupancy, the higher the fuel savings from ferries). In congested corridors, ferry travel times to the ferry terminal are com- Table 5-3. Huntington (NY) to Bridgeport (CT)--automobile vs. ferry travel. Mode Miles Travel Time Cost Per Vehicle Fuel Used Highway--Clear 75 80 min $40 4 gala Highway--Congested 75 120 min $45 5 gal Automobile to Ferry-- 25 130 min $70 3 gal per auto Ferry to Bridgeport carried including ferry fuel used a Automobile cost based on 55 cents per mile operating cost. This is the IRS allowance.
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Ferry Case Studies 27 Table 5-4. Huntington (NY) to Bridgeport (CT)--automobile vs. fast-ferry travel. Mode Miles Travel Time Cost Total Fuel Useda Highway--Clear 75 80 min $40 1,600 gal Highway--Congested 75 120 min $45 2,000 gal Automobile to Fast Ferry 25 70 min $30 730 galb a Calculation assumes 400 vehicles traveling from Huntington to Bridgeport. Fast-ferry alternative assumes a 25 mile drive to ferry terminal and then walk-on passengers. b Based on 1.5 passengers per automobile, 22 mpg per automobile, and $20 fast ferry fare per passenger Table 5-5. Riverhead (NY) to New London (CT)--automobile vs. ferry travel. Mode Miles Travel Time Cost Per Vehicle Fuel Used Highway--Clear 200 220 min $110 10 gal Highway--Congested 200 300 min $120 12 gal Automobile to Ferry 30 140 min $70 3 gal per auto carried including ferry fuel used petitive with automobile travel times. Conventional ferries allow for automobile use at either terminal, but the passenger-only, fast-ferry market is limited by the need to complete trips beyond the immediate ferry terminal area. As a result, while using passenger-only fast ferries could be more fuel efficient than driving (per Table 5-4), the market for these trips may be limited and hence not financially viable. Land Use Issues Cross Sound Ferry and Port Jefferson Ferry mentioned that their Long Island host communi- ties are sensitive to increases in service and expansion of terminal facilities. However, both com- panies recognize that there is latent demand that cannot currently be accommodated and that results in additional highway trips and vehicle miles traveled. In New London, the town is interested in developing a multimodal center where ferries are one piece of the puzzle. The multimodal center is seen as an economic catalyst for redevelop- ment in the town center. Bridgeport is faced with urban design issues that limit the ability to create optimal pedestrian and bicycle environments that encourage movements between the train station and ferry termi- nal. It is unlikely that changes in the urban infrastructure scheme will change in the near future to allow for redevelopment to occur. Port Jefferson and Orient Point communities have both restricted land use growth around the ferry terminals. Emergency Response After the attacks of September 11, 2001, ferries provided the only transportation from Long Island. While there is no formal emergency response system that the ferry operators work with, a more structured arrangement is being considered by local and state authorities.