2013-07-19 / Letters

Keep Fighting For Ferry

Dear Editor:

I want to thank The Wave for the exposure you gave to save the ferry and many thanks to the Rockaway residents who came through at the eleventh hour. According to Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder's office, it was that last minute surge that tipped the scale and won the subsidy. I also don't want to minimize the fact that Mr. Goldfeder personally took the petitions to City Hall and by Tuesday the 'yes' verdict was in, extending the subsidy until the Labor Day weekend. What a relief, but we can't relax.

We only have a month now to fight for a permanent commuter ferry. We must focus on what we are asking for - A SUBSIDIZED COMMUTER FERRY that reaches Manhattan in 45 minutes. That's what we have now and it works. Though well intentioned, many ferry advocates have suggested different ideas such as ferry stops starting at JFK Airport and extra stops in Rockaway.

Not only does this raise the cost of the subsidy, but each stop adds minutes of commuting time. Now a 45 minute commute becomes as bad as the 'A' train which takes an hour and a half to two hours. It takes a longer time to load a ferry than a subway train, which opens and closes it's doors for a minute. Already we've defeated the purpose of the 45 minute ferry.

The Wave contends that Staten Island has four times the population of Rockaway. They have managed to operate out of one depot for 60 years without a problem. It takes only 5 to 10 minutes from the farthermost points in Rockaway to get to our ferry. The costliest part of running the ferry is the enormous amount of gas it uses and their runaway cost of insurance. Each extra stop jacks up the subsidy. No JFK and Casino run could cover this, nor is it our responsibility to raise money for the subsidy.

Let's not get a thumbs down from the city before we start. If the Staten Island ferry is subsidized at $108 million dollars a year, $25 million dollars for Rockaway is a drop in the bucket. Let's keep it simple or we'll get nothing.

Assemblyman Goldfeder is looking for more signatures for the petition, so allow me to remind you, if you have a neighbor or a friend who hasn't signed up previously, they can do so at www.KeepRockawayFerrry.com or call his office at 718-641-8755. If you want to see the ferry schedule look up WWW.SEASTREAK.COM or call 1- 800-262-8743.

Thanks again to all who helped keep our ferry.

LEYLA MACAULAY

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