Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry
The P.T. Barnum at Port Jefferson Harbor
|Waterway||Long Island Sound|
|Line||Bridgeport - Port Jefferson|
|Carries||passengers, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and buses of all sizes|
|Operator||Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company|
|Travel time||1 hour and 15 minutes, one way|
|No. of vessels||3|
|Yearly ridership||1,000,000 (2005)|
|Yearly vehicles||460,000 (2005)|
The first ferry service began in 1872 and proved popular. The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company was subsequently founded in 1883 by several backers, including P.T. Barnum, who served as the first president of the ferry line. Another important founder of the line was Charles E. Tooker, who was the first captain of the Nonowantuc. All season transportation began in 1983 with the launching of the Grand Republic. Since 1980, the President has been Brian McAllister who also owns one hundred percent of the company's shares. The McAllisters purchased the company in 1960 from Joseph Tooker. Both the city of Bridgeport and the Bridgeport Port Authority receive a percentage of the ferry's ticket sales.
- June 20, 1987: In fog, the previous "Grand Republic" and current "Park City" vessels passed within 100 feet (30 m) or less of each other, and nearly collided a half a mile out from the Bridgeport harbor.
- On October 24, 2006 the ferry Grand Republic came to the rescue of three people whose 17-foot research vessel had capsized due to 25-knot winds near the Tongue Point Light in Bridgeport.
- September 2007: A homeland security drill simulated an improvised explosion on the "PT Barnum" arriving in Bridgeport
- May 2009: In Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company v. Bridgeport Port Authority, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a United States District Court for the District of Connecticut ruling that the Bridgeport Port Authority was unconstitutionally collecting taxes from the ferry company and passengers.
- February 2013, An engineer's inability to check the engine oil gauge caused the complete destruction of the Grand Republic's newly overhauled engines.
The Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company sponsors the Ferry Cup for the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball's Bridgeport Bluefish and Long Island Ducks. The teams ride the ferry to play each other all season, and the cup is awarded to whichever team has more victories over the other.
Several expansions are under consideration for the line.
High speed ferry
Since 2006 a proposal has been under consideration to add another run to the ferry's operations. The new service would link Bridgeport to Stamford, Connecticut with a 45 minute one-way trip, with a continuation on to lower Manhattan. A feasibility study has come out in support of a two boat solution to run during peak commuting hours, possibly including one boat service for off peak and weekend traffic. So far $9 million has been spent on the project up to 2008.
New Haven service
Since 2004 there have been discussions to expand service to include New Haven as a destination from Port Jefferson. Initially one boat would be used from the existing three ship fleet, but if demand warrants a fourth ferry would be added.
New Bridgeport Dock
Since the late 1990s, the Bridgeport Port Jefferson Ferry has wanted to move the Bridgeport Ferry Dock across the harbor to the former Turbana site, to allow more expanding and easier dock access. The $15 million project also includes the construction of a nearby supermarket and a waterfront park. The ferry company however, has been denied approval several times.
The distance between the two ports is approximately 18 miles (29 km). The average crossing is one hour and fifteen minutes in duration.
The ferry is located at 330 Water Street Dock Bridgeport, CT 06604. It is within walking distance of the Arena at Harbor Yard, the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, the Barnum Museum, the Metro-North station, the main GBTA Bus Station, the Klein Memorial Auditorium, and most of the downtown. In 2004 a new car loading ramp was installed featuring AASHTO HS-20 truck capacity.
The ferry is located at 102 West Broadway Port Jefferson, NY 11777. A large gold leaf statue of an eagle was erected on the corner of Routes 112 and 25A in 2002, replacing one of Thomas Jefferson. Directly across from the dock, it is a monument for victims of 9/11. The ferry is approximately one mile north of the Port Jefferson LIRR station.
The ferries can accommodate passengers on foot, with bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and buses including those over 55 feet in length. There is no charge for children under the age of 12. Service is year-round, and begins from both Bridgeport and Port Jefferson at 6.30AM and continues throughout the day at an hourly basis until 10PM with some exceptions.
- Park City (launched in 1986, 47 feet (14 m) wide/288 feet (88 m), 3000 horsepower, speed 15 knots): The ship can carry up to 1000 passengers and 95 vehicles. In 2012, it underwent a midlife overhaul, which included a new elevator, and a refurbished interior.
- P.T. Barnum (launched in 1999, 52 feet (16 m) wide/300 feet (91 m),. 1595 gross tons, 6000 horsepower, speed 20 knots): The ship can carry up to 1,000 passengers and 120 vehicles and was constructed at a cost of $14 million.
- Grand Republic (launched in 2003, 52 feet (16 m) wide/300 feet (91 m),. 1595 gross tons, 6000 horsepower, speed 20 knots): The ship can carry up to 1,000 passengers and 120 vehicles and was constructed at a cost of $14 million.
- Catskill - A steam powered ferry constructed in 1924 and taken out of service in 1968.
- Grand Republic (launched in 1983, 44 feet (13 m) wide/260 feet (79 m) long, 3000 horsepower, speed 15 knots): The previous Grand Republic could carry up to 1000 passengers and 85 vehicles. It was constructed at a cost of $6 million and was sold to Cross Sound Ferry Services, Inc. for the New London-Orient Point run of the Cross Sound Ferry. There the ship was renamed "Mary Ellen" but retains its hull number of 30.
- Martha's Vineyard - Before the (1983) Grand Republic, this steel hulled diesel-powered ship ran seasonally (no winter service) with six round trips a day from 1968. It was built in Bath, Maine in 1923.
- Nonowantuc - An original (soft coal fueled) ferry, it was slightly smaller than the 1898 Park City, but also featured masts if the boilers failed.
- Park City - A previous Park City served from 1898 through 1951. Built for $50,000, 28 feet (8.5 m) wide/150 feet (46 m) long 898 gross tons, 800 horsepower, 15 knots. Coal (hard)powered.
- Priscilla Alden - A wooden ferry which served until 1946, it lies in shallow water at Mt. Misery Cove, north of Port Jefferson.
- "Powered by Google Docs". Docs.google.com. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
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- "Crossing the Sound, the ferry’s history in photographs". Northshoreoflongisland.com. 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- "Docket No. 08-3886-cv. - BRIDGEPORT AND PORT JEFFERSON STEAMBOAT COMPANY v. BRIDGEPORT PORT AUTHORITY - US 2nd Circuit". Caselaw.findlaw.com. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
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- Anonymous Source within company
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- [dead link]
- "Rates". 88844ferry.com. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- "The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company Web Store :: Events". Reservations.88844ferry.com. 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- "Ferries Built in the U.S. since WWII". Shipbuildinghistory.com. 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
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- Long Island Genealogy. "The legendary Park City of The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company". Longislandgenealogy.com. Retrieved 2011-03-02.