Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry

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Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry
MV Park City, Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry.png
The MV Park City crossing Long Island Sound during the summer of 2016
Waterway Long Island Sound
Transit type Passenger and automobile ferry
Route Bridgeport - Port Jefferson
Carries passengers, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and buses of all sizes
Operator Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company
Began operation 1883
System length 18 miles
Travel time 1 hour and 15 minutes, one way
No. of vessels 3
No. of terminals 2
Yearly ridership 1,000,000 (2005)
Yearly vehicles 460,000 (2005)

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, known legally as The Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company is a ferry company that operates vehicle and passenger ferry service across the Long Island Sound, between the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut and the Long Island village of Port Jefferson, New York.


The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry operates between Port Jefferson, NY and Bridgeport, CT, and currently consists of three vessels and two terminals. Tickets were for many years purchased while onboard the vessel (at a purser's booth) and turned in to a crew member before walking or driving off. However, in June 2016, a new ticket system was implemented, where tickets are purchased and turned in before boarding the vessel. Tickets are sold online, over the phone, and inside the terminals. The new tickets, which contain bar codes, are scanned upon arrival, and can even be displayed over a cell phone or mobile device. [1] Travel time is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Each vessel contains a large cabin with seating area, a snack bar, a cocktail lounge, and an elevator between the cabin and car deck. Both the city of Bridgeport and the Bridgeport Port Authority receive a percentage of the ferry's ticket sales, a subject of controversy during a 2009 lawsuit brought on by the ferry company against the port authority.


The first ferry service began in 1872 and proved popular.[2] The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company was subsequently founded in 1883 by several backers, including entrepreneur P.T. Barnum,[3] and Port Jefferson seaman Charles E. Tooker. [4] The ferry company originally operated steamship service, but the acquisition of the Martha's Vineyard in 1968 ended steamship service. Since then, the company has been referred to in signage and conversation as the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, but Steamboat Company is still used legally.

Since 1980, the President has been Brian McAllister who also owns one hundred percent of the company's shares.[5] The McAllisters purchased the company in 1960 from Joseph Tooker (Charles Tooker's grandson).[6]

All season transportation began in 1983 with the launching of the Grand Republic. Since then, the service imperative has shifted towards vehicles, although foot passengers remain a significant form of revenue.

In 1999, with the launching of the PT Barnum, the ferry company began operating hourly, three-vessel service on weekends, holidays, and during the summer.[7] The ferry company still operates only two vessels on off-season weekdays, with departures every 90 minutes.

On May 29, 2009, 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.[5] The port authority was ordered to pay the ferry company $1.1 million in reparations.[8]

In 2013, the ferry company unveiled plans to move it's Bridgeport dock across the Pequonnock River to a new and larger terminal.[9] The city approved the plan in April 2014, and the new terminal is slated to open in 2020.[10]


The distance between the two ports is approximately 18 miles (29 km). The average crossing is one hour and fifteen minutes in duration.


41°10′21″N 73°10′55″W / 41.17250°N 73.18194°W / 41.17250; -73.18194

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.[11] The aforementioned proposed new terminal will be located on Seaview Avenue at the former site of Turbana Corporation.

Port Jefferson[edit]

40°56′46″N 73°3′44″W / 40.94611°N 73.06222°W / 40.94611; -73.06222

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.[12] The ferry is approximately one mile north of the Port Jefferson LIRR station.[13]


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.[14] Service is year-round, and begins from both Bridgeport and Port Jefferson at 6AM and continues throughout the day at an hourly basis until 10PM with some exceptions.[15] The trip duration in each direction is 1hr 15min [16]

There have been eleven vessels to operate on the line. The ships below have the following statistics, except where noted.[3][17]

Current ships[edit]

MV Park City:
The MV Park City was built by Offshore Shipbuilding in Palatka, FL in 1986 at a cost of $5 million. It is 280 feet (85 m) long and 47 feet (14 m) wide with capacity for 1000 passengers and 90 cars, and was named after the nickname of the city of Bridgeport. In January 2012, the Park City was removed from service for a midlife refit. The main cabin was refurbished, and a new elevator was added. The Park City re-entered service in May 2012, and the renovation has cemented the Park City as the ferry company's flagship vessel, despite it's smaller size than the other two. [18]

M.V. P.T. Barnum:
The MV PT Barnum was built in 1999 by Eastern Marine Shipbuilding in Panama City, FL at a cost of $12 million. It is 52 feet (16 m) wide and 300 feet (91 m) long, and is named after the ferry company's founder. The PT Barnum can carry 1000 passengers and 120 cars, and was constructed at a cost of $12 million.

M.V. Grand Republic:
The MV Grand Republic was built in 2003 also by Eastern Marine Shipbuilding in Panama City, FL, and is the newest and largest vessel in the fleet. It is the PT Barnum's sister ship, and is nearly identical in structure and dimensions, being 52 feet (16 m) wide and 300 feet (91 m) long, but has an after deck 5 feet longer than the PT Barnum's. The Grand Republic can carry up to 1,000 passengers and 120 vehicles and was constructed at a cost of $14 million.

Decommissioned ships[edit]

  • Catskill - A steam powered ferry constructed in 1924 and taken out of service in 1968.[19]
  • Grand Republic (launched in 1983, 44 feet (13 m) wide and 260 feet (79 m) longs): The previous Grand Republic was built in 1983 at a cost of $5 million by Offshore Shipbuilding in Palatka, FL (The same shipyard that would build the MV Park City three years later). The old Grand Republic could carry up to 1000 passengers and 85 vehicles. It was sold to Cross Sound Ferry Services, Inc. for use on their route between New London, CT and Orient, NY. There the ship was renamed the Mary Ellen.[20]
  • SS 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.[21] It could carry 800 passengers and 30 cars, and continued to be used as a seconary vessel after the 1983 MV Grand Republic's launch. It was decommissioned in 1986 following the launch of the MV Park City.
  • Nonowantuc - An original (soft coal fueled) ferry, it was slightly smaller than the 1898 Park City, but also featured masts if the boilers failed.[22]
  • 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.[22]
  • Priscilla Alden - A wooden ferry which served until 1946, it lies in shallow water at Mt. Misery Cove, north of Port Jefferson.[4]



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Powered by Google Docs" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  3. ^ a b Cavanaugh, Jack (August 1, 1999). "The View From/Bridgeport; With Ridership Rising, Ferry Gets a New Ship". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  4. ^ a b "Crossing the Sound, the ferry's history in photographs". 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  5. ^ a b "Docket No. 08-3886-cv. - BRIDGEPORT AND PORT JEFFERSON STEAMBOAT COMPANY v. BRIDGEPORT PORT AUTHORITY - US 2nd Circuit". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  6. ^ Bridgeport on the Sound - Google Books. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Microsoft Word - Newsletter Page 1 - 0404.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  12. ^ Fischler, Marcelle S. (June 30, 2002). "Long Island Journal; Tug of War Over a Monument". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  13. ^ [1] Archived July 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Rates". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  15. ^ "The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company Web Store :: Events". 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  16. ^ "The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company FAQ :: Events". 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  17. ^ "Ferries Built in the U.S. since WWII". 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ A. Kisselgof. "Final chapter: The Islander and other bygone ferries". US-MA: Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  20. ^ "US-Flag Ferries, Privately Owned". 2010-06-05. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  21. ^ Bridgeport on the Sound - Google Books. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  22. ^ a b Long Island Genealogy. "The legendary Park City of The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 

External links[edit]