Bayonne to Manhattan Ferry Service Sailing Ahead

Bayonne Ferry Military Ocean Terminal Harbor
Ferry service from Bayonne to Manhattan could start as soon as January 2019. Photo via the City of Bayonne’s RFP.

The plan for a ferry from Bayonne to Manhattan is sailing forward: On June 12, the City of Bayonne released its Request for Proposals (RFP), officially seeking an operator for commuter ferry service between Peninsula City and NYC.

According to the RFP, “The City of Bayonne is seeking a qualified service provider to operate a premier passenger only, commuter ferry service between Bayonne and Downtown Manhattan as an alternative and supplement to existing transportation options.”

The RFP stipulates that “the service must be reliable, tickets must be competitively priced, and plans for maintaining the service over the long term must be present.” All bids will be evaluated by 11 criteria, each worth a certain number of points along the selection rubric: itinerary (20 points), ticket pricing (15 points), connectivity (10 points), operational plan (10 points), commuter services (10 points), resiliency of service (5 points), marketing plan (5 points), amenities (5 points), pricing (5 points), and additional services (15 points). And 10 bonus points will be awarded for an implementation schedule that meets or exceeds a January 2019 service start date. The bid achieving the highest number of points will be selected.

Bayonne Ferry Military Ocean Terminal Aerial
Site of future Bayonne ferry terminal. Aerial image via the City of Bayonne’s RFP.

Operator proposals must also “outline plans for construction/maintenance of the ferry’s landing and terminal.” The estimated cost for the ferry terminal exceeds $1.6 million, and Bayonne has committed a recently awarded federal grant of $650,000 and declared that multiple developers of the Military Ocean Terminal (MOT), aka the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, have committed to contributing funds for the construction as well.

Bayonne Ferry Military Ocean Terminal Key Map
Site of future Bayonne ferry terminal. Image via the City of Bayonne’s RFP.

The ferry terminal will be on the southern shore of the MOT, offering a time-saving transportation alternative for Manhattan commuters. The RFP only demands a peak service schedule proposal with a minimum of three a.m. departures from Bayonne, one stop in Manhattan, and three p.m. departures from Manhattan. A stop downtown, near Wall Street and Pier 11, as well as more than one NYC stop, is preferred.

The RFP also strongly encourages additional itineraries for leisure, citing examples including dinner cruises, fall foliage tours, and ferry service to Mets and Yankees games and/or similar venues. “The City is desirous to explore a variety of waterborne vessel activities for recreational as well as tourism opportunities promoting Bayonne as a historical, recreational, and entertainment destination location.”

Submissions are due August 7 and the decision is anticipated to be announced September 19.


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