The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry
crosses Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...
between the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bridgeport is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. Located in Fairfield County, the city had an estimated population of 144,229 at the 2010 United States Census and is the core of the Greater Bridgeport area...
and the Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...
village of Port Jefferson, New York
The Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson is located in the town of Brookhaven in Suffolk County, New York on the North Shore of Long Island. As of the 2000 United States Census, the village population was 7,837...
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, whom served as its 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.
- May 2009: In Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company v. Bridgeport Port Authority, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is one of the thirteen United States Courts of Appeals...
upheld a United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut is the Federal district court whose jurisdiction is the state of Connecticut. The court has offices in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven. Appeals from the court are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit...
ruling that the Bridgeport Port Authority was unconstitutionally collecting taxes from the ferry company and passengers.
- September 2007: A homeland security drill simulated an improvised explosion on a ferry arriving in Bridgeport.
- 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
Tongue Point Light Lighthouse, also known as Bridgeport Breakwater or Bug Light, is a lighthouse on the west side of the Bridgeport Harbor entrance, in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut in the United States. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.-History:The lighthouse...
- June 20, 1987: In fog, two ferries passed within 100 feet (30.5 m) or less of each other, and nearly collided a half a mile out from the Bridgeport harbor.
The Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company sponsors the Ferry Cup
for the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball is a professional, independent baseball organization located primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, especially the greater metropolitan areas of the Northeast megalopolis. It operates in cities not served by Major or Minor League...
's Bridgeport Bluefish
The Bridgeport Bluefish is an American professional baseball team based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They are a member of the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball...
and Long Island Ducks
The Long Island Ducks is an American professional baseball team based in Central Islip, New York. They are a member of the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball...
. 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.
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
Stamford is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 122,643, making it the fourth largest city in the state and the eighth largest city in New England...
with a 45 minute one-way trip, with a continuation on to lower Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...
. 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.
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 Webster Bank Arena is a 10,000-seat multi-purpose arena at 600 Main Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut, built alongside The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. The Arena opened on October 10, 2001 and is managed by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Centerplate...
, the Ballpark at Harbor Yard
The Ballpark at Harbor Yard is a 5,300-seat baseball park in Bridgeport, Connecticut that hosted its first regular season baseball game on May 21, 1998, as the tenants of the facility, the Bridgeport Bluefish, lost to the Aberdeen Arsenal. The stadium is located next to the Arena at Harbor Yard...
, the Barnum Museum
The Barnum Museum is a museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA with an extensive collection related to P. T. Barnum and the history of Bridgeport, Connecticut housed in an historic building on the National Register of Historic Places.- Construction :...
, the Metro-North station
The Bridgeport Metro-North Railroad station serves the residents of Bridgeport, Connecticut and its surrounding towns that do not have a Metro-North stop like Trumbull, via the New Haven Line. The station is the transfer point between the Waterbury Branch and the Northeast Corridor mainline...
, the main GBTA
The Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority is a transit service serving the Greater Bridgeport region of the U.S. state of Connecticut. The GBTA provides local bus service to the cities/towns of Bridgeport, Trumbull, Stratford, Fairfield, and Monroe....
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
Port Jefferson is the terminus for the Port Jefferson Branch of the Long Island Rail Road. The station is located on New York State Route 25A , on the north side of the tracks, but is also accessible from Oakland Avenue , as well as Railroad Avenue and Union Street on the south side of the tracks...
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.
There have been eleven vessels to operate on the line. The ships below have the following statistics, except where noted.
- Park City (launched in 1986, 44 feet (13.4 m) wide/288 feet (87.8 m), 3000 horsepower, speed 15 knots): The ship can carry up to 1000 passengers and 90 vehicles.
- P.T. Barnum (launched in 1999, 52 feet (15.8 m) wide/300 feet (91.4 m),. 1595 gross tons, 6000 horsepower, speed 20 knots): The ship can carry up to 1,000 passengers and 110 vehicles and was constructed at a cost of $14 million.
- Grand Republic (launched in 2003, 52 feet (15.8 m) wide/300 feet (91.4 m),. 1595 gross tons, 6000 horsepower, speed 20 knots): The ship can carry up to 1,000 passengers and 110 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 (13.4 m) wide/288 feet (87.8 m) long, 3000 horsepower, speed 15 knots): The previous Grand Republic could carry up to 1000 passengers and 90 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
Cross Sound Ferry is a passenger and road vehicle ferry service operating between New London, Connecticut and Orient, Long Island, New York. The service is privately owned and operated by Cross Sound Ferry Services, Inc., headquartered in New London...
. 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
Bath is a city in Sagadahoc County, Maine, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 9,266. It is the county seat of Sagadahoc County. Located on the Kennebec River, Bath is a port of entry with a good harbor. The city is popular with tourists, many drawn by its...
- 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 (45.7 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.