The College of Staten Island was awarded $410,000 in a Job Access and Reverse Commute Grant from the New York State Department of Transportation for the operation of the New CSI – Staten Island Ferry Shuttle. The ferry shuttle operates direct service from the College’s Willowbrook campus to the St. George ferry terminal. This service currently operates and runs every half-hour from 7:00am until 11:00pm on school days and hourly on non-school days.
“I am so pleased that President Morales initiated this program,” says Jonathan Peters, Associate Professor of Finance at the College of Staten Island and a Research Fellow at the University Transportation Research Center. “Every day that classes are in session, over 1,430 students and staff will arrive on campus, each having saved over 15 minutes each way in their daily commute. I have ridden the bus numerous times and it is a true joy to reach the terminal without extensive delay and to have a shuttle with a high frequency of service – it really reduces the stress of the commute.” Peters adds that he expects the shuttle to move approximately 217,000 riders this year.
This project was pilot tested in March of 2008 and funding for the service was pursued by the College for full implementation of the program for the 2008-2009 academic year. This grant allows the College to pursue additional funding sources for acquisition of equipment and support of operating cost in future years. The College expects that this service will significantly reduce traffic on Staten Island roads, lower demand for parking services on campus, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Staten Island, with the longest average commute in the nation, has numerous challenges in terms of mass transit services. This project was designed to directly address transportation needs that were identified in the Public Transit-Human Service Transportation Plan produced by the New York State Department of Transportation in 2006. In that report, the West Shore of Hylan Boulevard/West Shore of Staten Island (zip codes 10302, 10309, and 10314) was identified as a rapidly developing area that was designated a Priority Employment Market in need of alternative transportation. In large measure, the strong growth has created a geographic mismatch in terms of employment centers and low-income worker households. People from 109 Zip codes in the region are currently using the shuttle service, with a large number of riders traveling on other forms of transit prior to boarding the shuttle.