Darien may have the solution for the commuting problems caused by last week's Metro-North Railroad electrical problems: A ferry.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said at Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting that she had conversations with the president of Seastreak, a ferry company, to temporarily provide a ferry service from the Darien harbor to 35th Street and Pier 11 Wall Street.
But with the speed that the train lines are being repaired, it seems as though the ferry idea will have to wait for a different emergency.
Jim Barker, Seastreak president and a Darien resident, said he initially approached Stevenson and Stamford to have a ferry shuttle out of the Building Landing Technology docks, which are within walking distance from the train parking lot, but the plan was denied, so a different conversation with Stevenson was started about having the ferry leave from Darien.
Seastreak is a ferry charter company that provides transportation for commuters into New York City from New Jersey and Brooklyn as well as several trips in Massachusetts to Martha's Vineyard. Seastreak was in the spotlight in January after one of its vessels from New Jersey crashed into a Manhattan dock and left more than 50 people injured.
Barker has three different length boats -- 65 feet, 99 feet and 141 feet -- and the smaller of the three can fit in the Darien harbor. He and Stevenson discussed testing the 65-foot ferry at the harbor, and they received approval from Darien Police Chief Duane Lovello, Harbor Master Tom Bell and Parks and Recreation Director Sue Swiatek.
"It's a novel approach and I think it's worth exploring," Lovello said. "I think the timing is right."
Because school is in session and the beaches are not being heavily used, like in the summer, traffic along the roads leading to the harbor has significantly decreased.
The 65-foot ferry is capable of carrying 150 passengers and would have made one trip in the morning to the city and one back to Darien in the evening. It is normally used to transport people from the Jersey Shore to New York Yankees or New York Mets baseball games during the season.
Train service came to a halt on the New Haven line on Sept. 25 after a Consolidated Edison feeder cable near Mt. Vernon, N.Y., failed just after 5 a.m., stopping the train service from Stamford to Grand Central.
Con Edison officials initially said it could take weeks to restore the power to the trains, however the electric feeder cable problem that's disrupted the heavily used rail line is expected to be fixed by Oct. 7. After testing, service is expected to resume Oct. 7 or Oct. 8, earlier than the initial Oct. 14 prediction.
Barker is currently awaiting further communication from the town to move forward and schedule a time to test bringing the boat into the harbor.
"If there's an emergency, we're always willing to help any way we can," Barker said. "But we're not trying to operate a ferry service out of Darien."
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