GLEN COVE, Long Island (WABC) -- The City of Glen Cove said Tuesday it hopes to offer ferry service from Glen Cove to Manhattan in May 2022 -- six years after the ferry terminal and infrastructure was built.
"We are working at it," Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke said in an interview with Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne. "We do want to see this happen.
According to the city, construction on the ferry terminal on Garvies Point Road was completed in 2015, even though there was no road to access the terminal building.
The project cost $22 million in federal, state and Glen Cove taxpayer money. It was built before Tenke took office.
In 2018, a road to the ferry building was finally built. At the same time, residential developers constructed large luxury condominiums and apartments around the ferry building.
Throughout the next two years, the city geared up for ferry service and entered into a letter of intent to contract with Hornblower Metro Ferry, LLC in January 2020. Ferry service was set to launch in May 2020 when COVID hit, so it was put on pause.
Tenke said it will cost the city $2.3 million every year to operate the ferry whether one person takes it or the 250 to 300 who can fit on it.
"All the risk is borne by the city," he said.
Tenke said the city estimates it needs 65 to 75 percent capacity on the ferry in order for it to make financial sense for the city.
Tenke said city officials don't believe there is a high demand for ferry service into Manhattan because of COVID and the amount of people working from home. Tenke pointed to low ridership on the Long Island Rail Road as not being a good sign of people wanting to return to work in New York City.
"They're not full right now," Tenke said of LIRR trains. "And that's an indicator also of who's going back into Manhattan."
The city, however, is obligated to run the ferry service at some point for at least two years or it will owe the federal government $16 million, which is the amount given to the city for the project.
"We always knew that there was a very thin margin there for us to provide the service and also maintain it," Tenke said.
Tenke said the city is considering doing a study to ascertain how many people would take the ferry at this point.
A spokesperson for Hornblower said the company recently held a status update with Glen Cove officials "but no further material discussions have been solidified regarding ferry service."
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