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North Ferry seeks rate hike: Hearing set via Zoom May 11

North Ferry is applying to the Suffolk County Legislature for permission for some rate increases, while South Ferry has no immediate plans to do so.

On May 11, there will be a hearing on North Ferry’s request, which can be accessed via Zoom. North Ferry officials will be asking for increases, according to Stella Lagudis,  executive director of the Heights Property Owners Corporation (HPOC), which owns North Ferry.

Residents who get discounted tickets would see a $1 increase each way, while those who pay full fares would have to pay an additional $2 each way.

Currently, up to three passengers in a vehicle would each have to pay $2 per crossing, but that will be reduced to charging only two passengers in a vehicle for their fares.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the ferry saw a lot of full freight traffic drying up and many off-Island commuters worked from home, cutting that revenue substantially.

Islanders stayed home more, cutting down on revenue from discounted fares.

After more than a year of absorbing major revenue cuts, while still having capital and operating expenses that had to be met, it finally became necessary to stop some of the bleeding in the interest of sustaining the ferry service, Ms. Lagudis said.

Those who want to comment on the proposed fare hikes can do so either by letters or by monitoring the session on May 11 that starts at 6:30 p.m.

Anyone wishing to watch the session and/or comment, can get information by calling 631-853-4070.

Ms. Lagudis said she is also trying to create Zoom access on the Island for residents. If that becomes available, the Reporter will carry that link on its website and local residents will receive information on that link directly, she said.

A full list of current North Ferry fees is available at northferry.com/rates.

South Ferry President Cliff Clark said there are no plans “in the foreseeable future” to ask for any rate hike. South Ferry officials went on an austerity budget last year and are hoping this summer to see a return to at least near-normal levels as the tourist season that typically starts on Memorial Day weekend beckons more visitors to Shelter Island, and more truck traffic as well.