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Ferry officials meet in strategy session

A meeting over the weekend of North and South Ferry officials and the town’s supervisor and police chief discussed ways to maintain communication and “keep the Island open,” as South Ferry Chief Executive Cliff Clark said Monday.

On the agenda were plans for the sharing of personnel between the ferry companies if the coronavirus takes a toll on crews; cross training of crews between the companies; and a plan for the worst possible scenario, which is how to reduce services.

All of the contingency plans could be done, Mr. Clark said. “It won’t be simple,” he said. “It won’t be easy.”

He mentioned the differences between the two ferry services, including different tides and different boats.

General Manager Stella Lagudis of the Heights Property Owners Corporation, which owns the North Ferry, agreed it was an important and productive meeting to share information with the “goal of being operational” during the health crisis and “keeping our customers and our employees safe.”

The meeting, along with Mr. Clark and Ms. Lagudis, was attended by Supervisor Jerry Siller and Police Chief Jim Read —the town’s emergency management coordinator — South Ferry’s Chief Operating Officer Nicholas Morehead, and Bridg Hunt, manager of the North Ferry.

Both ferry services are taking extra safety precautions. Mr. Clark said he has daily meetings with his executive team on safety and keeping everyone healthy.

Ms. Lagudis, speaking with the Reporter on Monday, noted that at both the Shelter Island and Greenport terminals there are bathrooms with “plenty of hot water and soap,” and crews have sanitizers and gloves.

In addition, all “high-touch” areas of the boats and terminals are regularly cleaned and every boat is washed down once a day.

With North Ferry’s hand-held ticketing system, commuter passes and stickers on windshields for many travelers has cut down on hand-to-hand contact.

“We, along with the town and South Ferry, are doing everything we can to help the community,” Ms. Lagudis said.