Seastreak ferry raises fares for trips to New York, blames rising costs

Commuters who ride Seastreak Ferries started the new month by digging a little deeper into their wallets, after a rate increase went into effect on Monday.

Seastreak officials blamed Monday’s rate increase on the need to cover higher costs, including the price of diesel fuel, which has hit record highs this year and remained at a higher price per gallon. higher than that of gasoline.

“The price of fuel, combined with rising personnel and maintenance costs, has forced us to increase our rates,” said James D. Barker, vice president of marketing and communications for Seastreak LLC. “The average price per gallon Seastreak has paid over the past nine months was 73% higher than the price paid in December 2021.”

Maintenance and personnel costs have also increased, he said. Seastreak’s last fare increase was in 2016, which funded the rebuilding of four ferries.

Adult round-trip fares increased 4.3% from $47 to $49. A 40-trip ticket book increases the cost from $695 to $720, an increase of 3.6%, Barker said. The cost of a 10-trip booklet increased from $217 to $230, an increase of 6%. Fare prices for serving members of the military and a 40-trip student ticket book remain unchanged.

“The increase is rather modest and falls far short of the additional costs we incurred for fuel, personnel and vessel maintenance,” Barker said.

Seastreak has also introduced a 20-trip ticket booklet priced at $420, aimed at commuters working hybrid schedules that require them to be at their place of work less than 5 days a week. NJ Transit introduced a similar 20-ticket Flex Pass in February 2021, designed to be a hybrid between a monthly pass and paying single fares.

“We’ve introduced a new 20-trip logbook to meet the changing needs of commuters with more flexible work schedules that ride less frequently,” Barker said.

Other ferry operators are increasing their fares, including NYC ferry, which raised fares by $2.75, the equivalent of a one-way subway ride, at $4 last month.

As with other public transit, ferry ridership has been slow to return since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“We’re still only carrying about 70% of the passengers we were pre-COVID for our NJ/NYC service,” Barker said.

Meanwhile, the company’s planned resumption of the Belford-New York route from NY Waterway, originally scheduled for Oct. 28, will be delayed to Jan. 1, Barker said.

“We have been working with Monmouth County to facilitate a smooth transition to Seastreak in Belford,” Barker said in an email. “We have decided to push back the start date of Seastreak operating from Belford from October 28, 2022 to January 1, 2023.”

The Highland-based ferry company has submitted applications for landing rights in New York, and Barker said the company does not anticipate any problems with securing landing rights at West 39th Street, Brookfield Place or Pier 11.

More information will be provided in the coming weeks on Seastreak’s operating schedule for the Belford ferry service and the Jersey City-Paulus Hook service from Belford, he said.

“We are confident that the transfer of service will not take place in October,” said Thomas Arnone, director of the Monmouth County Board of Commissioners. “Regardless of the transition date, there will be no disruption to the traveling public.”

In June, Monmouth County Freeholders awarded a contract to Seastreak to operate the service from the county-owned ferry terminal, a move that ousted NY Waterway, which had operated the service for 20 years.

NY Waterway is challenging the decision in court.

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Larry Higgs can be reached at [email protected].

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