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Glen Cove Ferry Could Provide Alternative if LIRR Strikes

By   /  July 11, 2014  /  2 Comments

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MTA and Long Island officials said Friday that Glen Cove’s currently unused ferry terminal could be used for special service purposes in the case of a strike.

Glen Cove Ferry RenderingIn addition to shuttle buses that would carry up to 15,000 to subway stops in Queens and carpool areas on Long Island, the Glen Cove Ferry Terminal could load up to 1,000 commuters towards Manhattan, according to Newsday.

Employees may go on strike as early as Sunday, July 20.

The strike would be the result of unsuccessful negotiations between the MTA and labor unions representing LIRR employees. The MTA has offered 17% raises over seven years for about 5,400 LIRR employees which includes retroactive pay, according to the Wall Street Journal. In return, the MTA wants employees to contribute 2 percent towards health-care coverage, of which they currently contribute nothing.

But what looks to be the deal killer for unions is that the MTA wants new employees to contribute 4 percent to their health-care and continued contributions to their pensions beyond 10 years of employment at the LIRR. As a professor of labor studies is quoted in the WSJ story, “it potentially pits members against each other”, or weakens the legitimacy of the union.

The unions should be careful here. If the zero hour is reached and New Yorkers are forced to seek alternatives, human ingenuity will prevail. In other words, it’s not the legitimacy of just the union at stake, but also of government-run railroads that expend more than they take in and pass on costs to non-commuting taxpayers and small businesses. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which is essentially rail-like bus service has already been implemented on several bus routes in New York, and we believe BRT, with its fractional capital costs and much greater flexibility will be the transportation of the future.

From the NYC website:

Select Bus Service is New York City’s version of Bus Rapid Transit: an improved bus service that offers fast, frequent, and reliable service on high-ridership bus routes. Completed in much less time and at much lower cost than subways—which take years to construct and require expensive up-front infrastructure and equipment—Select Bus Service offers a more immediate improvement to New York City’s transit network benefitting the entire city through improved mobility, cleaner air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced congestion.

Designed to provide rail-like service, Select Bus Service uses techniques and technologies such as dedicated bus lanesoff-board fare collection and transit signal priority to improve the quality and performance of transit and, in turn, to improve mobility and access in the neighborhoods that it serves.

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About the author

Founder, Executive Editor

Before founding the Beacon, Mike worked at AOL Patch, Anton News, and most recently at Reason Magazine.


  1. Dave Nieri says:

    Glen Cove could benefit from a long LIRR strike in that the rather useless ferry terminal could host a commuter ferry long enough to establish the ‘idea’ that commuter ferry service might be viable from Glen Cove. The last prior attempt suffered from a lack of marketing, with the ‘Hooterville Trolley’ Oyster Bay branch of the LIRR, arguably the worst line on the Island, remaining as an alternative to the ferry. If the LIRR strike lasts a significant amount of time, and the City does its part in marketing the ferry, a commuter ferry service may be able to establish a foothold in Glen Cove that might sustain it even after the strike ends.
    I’m still dubious about the success of the ferry, after multiple previous attempts with hovercrafts, hydrofoils and gas turbine multi-hulls – all expensive vessels to operate without government subsidy. But the possible railroad strike is an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. Failure to initiate and maintain a ferry service that can compete successfully with the inadequate Oyster Bay branch of the railroad will mean that we have committed more tax dollars to construction of just another vacant building in Glen Cove – the ferry terminal building.

    • Mike Bruschini says:

      Looks like the market value of a commute to Manhattan is set at around $15, a monthly at around $300. Ferry supporters say they’ll charge around double that ($30 for a round trip and over $500 monthly) and it’d probably require a state subsidy. Still, it’d probably leave GC only twice per morning.

      I’d look into Bus Rapid Transit for a solution. It operates just like trains, costs much less and when it’s implemented it offers much more service.

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