Workers and tourists traveling through ferry terminals in Manhattan like Pier 11 or Brookfield Place can find boats traveling to places such as Hudson County, Brooklyn, and Queens, but not Middlesex County. However, plans to change that could soon move forward.
South Amboy’s municipal government has issued a request for proposals in order to find a company interested in operating passenger ferries between the Bayshore community and Manhattan along with possible ferry service to nearby New Jersey cities like New Brunswick.
“By virtue of its proximity to New York City, access to rail, explosive growth, and ongoing development, the City [of South Amboy] is uniquely positioned to become a keystone mass transit hub,” the RFP says in part, adding that “the Ferry Service must be reliable, tickets must be competitively priced, and plans for maintaining the service over the long term must be present.”
The request notes that at least three inbound and three outbound ferry trips per weekday are being sought.
Last year, South Amboy announced that it would receive more than $5 million worth of federal funds to help construct a new ferry terminal next to an upcoming 1,875-unit development known as the Manhattan Beach Club.
“Discussions are ongoing with at least three entities regarding the development of 70+ acres immediately north of the Ferry Terminal site for light industrial use and the City is currently in negotiations for a 400-500 [unit] residential development immediately adjacent to the south of the Manhattan Beach Club property,” the RFP adds.
Construction on the ferry terminal, which will officially be known as the Radford Ferry Intermodal Transportation Facility, is scheduled to begin during the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the RFP. The terminal is slated to be finished in 2023, but the request indicates that ferry service could begin as early as 2022 and that a temporary ticket sales area would be developed.
Proposals from potential ferry operators are due by July 18. A contract could be awarded around August 25, the RFP states.
Despite the number of waterfront municipalities in New Jersey that are within commuting distance of Manhattan, only a handful have commuter ferry service. NY Waterway serves Middletown, Edgewater, Jersey City, Hoboken, and Weehawken while Seastreak serves Highlands and Atlantic Highlands. NYC Ferry does not have any stops in the Garden State.
Over the last few years, however, there has been an effort in a few communities to bring back ferries. For instance, in addition to South Amboy, Carteret and Bayonne are each looking to add ferry service to Manhattan.