Staten Island Ferry Cuts Service as Virus Triggers Crew Shortages

The Staten Island Ferry system is temporarily running less frequently during rush hours because of a surge in coronavirus infections among staff members, a spokesman for the city’s transportation department said on Friday.

Through July 26, ferries will run at 20-minute intervals between 6 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 8 p.m., adding five minutes to usual wait times. The changes mean three boats will run per hour, as opposed to the usual four. At all other hours, ferries will maintain a 30-minute schedule.

Because of the crew shortage, cancellations are possible overnight, the city transportation department said, though it did not say how many employees were out because of the virus.

New York City’s coronavirus positivity rate has been climbing in recent weeks, and was up by 15 percent in the last seven days, according to city data. But, as it appears New York is facing yet another wave of infections, it seems the city is shrugging off the threat.

Despite looser federal transit regulations, local laws require riders to wear masks at ferry terminals and on boats. Masks are required on subways, too, but compliance hovers near 50 percent in many cars.

The Staten Island Advance has reported that crew shortages have previously triggered service cuts in recent months, particularly during afternoon and overnight hours.

Officials said the newly reduced schedule lets them better use available workers and give passengers a set schedule. Transportation officials say they will revisit the plan after July 26.

No changes are expected for the ferry system’s daytime weekend schedule.

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