Is Staten Island Ferry Free: A Comprehensive Guide to Riding for Free


Staten Island Ferry is a popular mode of transportation for both tourists and commuters in New York City. The ferry service operates between Staten Island and Manhattan, providing stunning views of famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Lower Manhattan skyline. However, many people are not aware that riding the Staten Island Ferry is actually free. In this article, we’ll explore the different ways you can ride the ferry for free and why it’s important to understand how to do so.

A Comprehensive Guide to Riding Staten Island Ferry for Free

There are several ways to ride the Staten Island Ferry for free. One of the most common ways is to use the MetroCard. By swiping your MetroCard, you can ride the ferry without paying anything. However, it’s important to note that this only applies to one-way trips. If you want to return to Manhattan, you’ll need to either pay for another fare or use another method of riding for free.

Another way to ride the ferry for free is to travel during off-peak hours. The ferry service runs 24/7, but certain times of the day are considered peak hours and require payment. Off-peak hours are generally during midday and late at night. Consult the Staten Island Ferry schedule to plan your trip accordingly.

Aside from these two options, there are also other ways to ride the ferry for free. For example, students and seniors may be eligible for discounts or waivers. There are also occasional promotions and events that offer free rides on the ferry. Keep an eye out for these opportunities by checking the ferry’s official website or subscribing to their newsletter.

Why is Staten Island Ferry Free?

The Staten Island Ferry has been providing transportation services between Staten Island and Manhattan since the early 1800s. The ferry has traditionally been a government-funded service, which is why it has always been free for riders. Throughout the years, the ferry has become an essential part of New York City’s transportation system, connecting hundreds of thousands of people every day.

Aside from its historical and traditional significance, there are several reasons why the Staten Island Ferry is free. For one, it serves as a vital transportation link for Staten Island residents who need to commute to Manhattan for work or school. By providing a free service, the ferry ensures that these residents have an affordable and convenient way to get to their destination.

Additionally, the Staten Island Ferry is a major tourist attraction, with many visitors coming to New York City specifically to ride it and see the sights it offers. By making the ferry free, the city can attract more visitors and stimulate its tourism industry.

What to Expect When Taking a Free Ride on the Staten Island Ferry

When taking a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry, you can expect a comfortable and enjoyable experience. The ferries are well-maintained and equipped with various amenities, including snack bars, restrooms, and outdoor decks for taking in the views.

During the trip, you’ll be able to see some of the most iconic landmarks in New York City, such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You’ll also be treated to stunning views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and the surrounding waterways. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture these memorable sights!

To get the most out of your experience, consider timing your ride during sunrise or sunset, when the light is most favorable for photography. You can also try to position yourself near the front or back of the ferry to get the best views.

Insider Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Free Staten Island Ferry Ride

If you’re looking to maximize your experience on the Staten Island Ferry, there are some insider tips that you should keep in mind. For example, try to avoid the crowds by traveling outside of peak hours. You can also bring your own food and drinks to save money and enjoy a picnic on the outdoor decks.

If you’re a frequent rider of the ferry, consider getting a Staten Island Ferry Card, which offers discounts and other benefits. You can also explore Staten Island itself, which has several attractions such as the Staten Island Zoo and the National Lighthouse Museum.

A Comparison of Staten Island Ferry with Other Modes of Transportation in New York City

When it comes to transportation in New York City, there are several options available, including buses, subways, and taxis. However, the Staten Island Ferry offers some unique advantages compared to these other methods.

For one, riding the ferry is completely free, which can save you a considerable amount of money over time. Additionally, the ferry provides beautiful views of the city that you wouldn’t be able to see from other forms of transportation. It’s also a more relaxed and leisurely mode of transportation that allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery.

The Role of Staten Island Ferry in New York City’s Transportation System

The Staten Island Ferry plays a crucial role in New York City’s transportation ecosystem, providing an essential link between Staten Island and Manhattan. It’s estimated that the ferry transports over 23 million passengers annually, making it one of the busiest ferry services in the world.

Aside from its transportation benefits, the ferry also has a significant economic and social impact on the city. It creates job opportunities for Staten Island residents and stimulates the tourism industry. Additionally, it helps to reduce traffic congestion on highways and bridges, which in turn reduces air pollution and carbon emissions.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Staten Island Ferry

Like many other aspects of life in New York City, the Staten Island Ferry has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. To keep riders safe, the ferry has implemented enhanced cleaning measures, safety protocols, and reduced capacity.

Despite these changes, the ferry is still operating and providing its essential service to the community. However, its ridership has declined significantly due to the pandemic, which may have long-term effects on its funding and operations.


The Staten Island Ferry is not only a free mode of transportation but also a symbol of New York City’s cultural and historical significance. By understanding how to ride the ferry for free, you can save money and enjoy a memorable experience that few other transportation methods can provide. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, take advantage of this wonderful service and explore all that Staten Island and Manhattan have to offer.

Webben Editor

Hello! I'm Webben, your guide to intriguing insights about our diverse world. I strive to share knowledge, ignite curiosity, and promote understanding across various fields. Join me on this enlightening journey as we explore and grow together.

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