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MAA89

How does Staten Island's double free transfers work

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The Staten Island Railway's schedule says that it is possible to get 2 free transfers when traveling between Staten Island and Manhattan. It says:

 

1) From Staten Island use Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard on a local Staten Island bus, and transfer free to the SIR and then transfer free to one of the above subways or buses in Manhattan.

 

2) From Manhattan pay your bus or subway fare, with Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard and transfer free to SIR, then transfer free to the following Staten Island buses: S51, S53, S54, S56, S57, S59, S74, S76, or S79.

 

How does the system work? When you transfer from a SI bus to the SIR and pay the exit fare at St. George, aren't you "using up" your free transfer. Wouldn't you have to pay another fare to ride the subway/bus in Manhattan? And the same the other way around, how can you get a free transfer from the ferry to both the SIR and then some bus routes?

 

I am sure Staten Islanders use the same type of MetroCards as everyone else. How are these extra transfers "stored" on the card?

 

And if double free transfers are possible, why would some people try to evade the SIR fare, and why would the MTA install turnstiles at St George and Tompkinsville if most of the riders are utilizing transfers?

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Yes, it literally means you can transfer twice with the same card.

 

Ever wonder why when you use the one transfer provided with a normal trip that it actually says that one transfer was used? It seems redundant, but that's what it is for.

 

All transfers must be with in one 2 hour period.

 

My question is whether these stations and bus lines have special card readers. I think they do.

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Hmmm, this is kinda complicated, I will do my best to explain this though.

 

This "double-transfer" system from Staten Island to Manhattan only works for some bus routes and at some subway stations. If you take a bus in Staten Island to an SIR station, you have to swipe again to exit the SIR, but the funny thing is, bus transfers work when exiting at St. George, and they probably work when entering and coming from Manhattan. If you have MetroCard, you will have another transfer and can use them on either the M1, M6, M9 or M15 and also on the Fulton, Wall and Bowling Green (4) and (5), Wall and Fulton on the (2) and (3), Broadway-Nassau on the (A) and (C), Broad and Fulton on the (J), (M) and (Z), and at Whitehall and Rector on the (1), (R) and (W).

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What happens is, when you exit the SIRTOA at St. George, you pay to exit then get on the Ferry for free and you have a Transfer inside to connect with the Subway and bus for free. Its like Subway to Subway free Transfer but rather Rail to Subway and Rail to Bus.

 

I think this also applies when you take the SI buses to ferry and you have a transfer to the MaBSTA/NYCT buses at the SIF Term

 

Same applies when heading back..

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Yes, it literally means you can transfer twice with the same card.

 

Ever wonder why when you use the one transfer provided with a normal trip that it actually says that one transfer was used? It seems redundant, but that's what it is for.

 

All transfers must be with in one 2 hour period.

 

My question is whether these stations and bus lines have special card readers. I think they do.

 

Yeah, I know subway turnstiles and bus fareboxes display "Go 1 Xfer OK" or "1 Xfer Ok", but I didn't realize that's because some buses and subways allow a second transfer from the SIR or SI buses. What does it read in these circumstances then? "Go 2 Xfer OK"?

 

Hmmm, this is kinda complicated, I will do my best to explain this though.

 

This "double-transfer" system from Staten Island to Manhattan only works for some bus routes and at some subway stations. If you take a bus in Staten Island to an SIR station, you have to swipe again to exit the SIR, but the funny thing is, bus transfers work when exiting at St. George, and they probably work when entering and coming from Manhattan. If you have MetroCard, you will have another transfer and can use them on either the M1, M6, M9 or M15 and also on the Fulton, Wall and Bowling Green (4) and (5), Wall and Fulton on the (2) and (3), Broadway-Nassau on the (A) and (C), Broad and Fulton on the (J), (M) and (Z), and at Whitehall and Rector on the (1), (R) and (W).

 

Thanks for the explanation. But this just makes me more curious. If a person transfers from a SI bus (Sxx) to the SIR, then he gets one free transfer at the exit turnstiles at St George terminal of the SIR and another in Manhattan at the stations and buses you mentioned, why bother trying to evade the SIR exit "fare"? Even if you live near an SIR stop and get on the train directly, I'd think you'd pay the exit fare because you are getting a transfer in Manhattan in the usual manner anyway.

 

It is only if you work or frequently visit a spot within walking distance of South Ferry terminal that you might want to avoid spending on transit altogether (by evading the SIR fare, riding the free ferry and walking to your destination in Manhattan). It is highly unlikely that the majority of Staten Islanders work in a half-mile radius from South Ferry.

 

If you are going to pay for a bus in Staten Island, and you know you can get two free transfers (to the SIR and to a bus/subway in Manhattan), then why bother getting off at Tompkinsville and walking to the ferry to "avoid" a fare? Similarly why bother trying to get around paying the SIR fare at St George by walking to a nearby station that has no turnstiles? Why not take advantage of all the transfers the MTA offers you?

 

Isn't this precisely why the SIR's farebox recovery is very low? If you allow multiple free transfers and let people use the buses in SI, the buses/trains in Manhattan and the SIR all for one fare, it is effectively as if the SIR does not exist and the rider is making bus to bus/subway transfers as usual. How will adding turnstiles simply to record free transfers help fund the SIR when that $2.25 is being spread over three modes of transit?

 

Lastly, why would Staten Islanders cry over paying an extra 50 cents round trip to use the ferry? The ferry could use some funding too. It seems unfair that elsewhere in the city passengers pay up to 83% of the cost of a subway ride from fares (according to Straphangers' Campaign) while Staten Islanders ride a ferry for free, contribute less than 10% of the cost of riding the SIR and spread their fares over buses in SI and transit in Manhattan.

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If you ask me, I think that the best thing the MTA should do to collect lost revenue would be to install a proof of payment system for the SIR. I've always scratched my head since I started exploring Staten Island by myself in 2007 and wondered why they can basically travel from station to station for free.

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If you ask me, I think that the best thing the MTA should do to collect lost revenue would be to install a proof of payment system for the SIR. I've always scratched my head since I started exploring Staten Island by myself in 2007 and wondered why they can basically travel from station to station for free.

 

Yeah, but how many people really use the SIR for intra-Staten Island trips? Most people in SI use private automobiles and/or buses. The SIR is fairly empty at most times except rush hours. Most rush hour passengers take the railroad to and from the ferry terminal. If one transfer was abolished, Staten Islanders would have to pay two fares (one in Staten Island for the bus/rail/both, and one in Manhattan) and the extra revenue could be directed towards SIR operations and capital projects. As it stands now, the (MTA) essentially fixed turnstiles at St George and Tompkinsville for people to swipe to use a free transfer. This isn't raising any funds whatsoever.

 

Asking intra-SI passengers to show proof of payment while the ferry and SIR terminal users get free transfers is like allowing people to ride to Liberty Island and from Ellis Island for free, but charging a fare to those making the short hop from Liberty to Ellis Island. Besides, proof of payment can be easily avoided by a whole host of excuses, e.g. "machine was out of order", "train was about to leave station, will pay later", "receipt was lost", "receipt is with my friend in the next car", "machine rejected my card/bills/coins", simply "did not know I had to pay in advance", "will pay exit fare instead" etc etc.

 

Besides, the cost of policing will probably exceed any gains from enforcing proof of payment, given the low ridership and widely spaced trains.

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I think I can help you out with your questions.

 

How does the system work? When you transfer from a SI bus to the SIR and pay the exit fare at St. George, aren't you "using up" your free transfer. Wouldn't you have to pay another fare to ride the subway/bus in Manhattan? And the same the other way around, how can you get a free transfer from the ferry to both the SIR and then some bus routes?

 

After you pay your first fare and transfer, there is the possibility for yet another transfer. This system is mainly in place for people who live too far from the SIR and may have to take a SI Local bus to reach on of the SIR stations.

 

I am sure Staten Islanders use the same type of MetroCards as everyone else. How are these extra transfers "stored" on the card?

 

You're making this all seem a little more confusing than it actually is. If you're using a specific commute that allows the 2nd transfer, then you don't have to worry about nothing. All you do is swipe your card!

 

And if double free transfers are possible, why would some people try to evade the SIR fare, and why would the MTA install turnstiles at St George and Tompkinsville if most of the riders are utilizing transfers?

 

This is sort of a myth that seems to go around among many here on these forums & SubChat. Yes, there are some that are actually evading the fare but those people are few and far between. Tompkinsville is a very busy destination itself and most of the riders getting on and off there probably had to take a bus at one point. The MTA is putting in those turnstiles because of the potential for revenue that they saw there, and plus there are big plans in the future for Tompkinsville & St. George including skyscrapers and what not.

 

All transfers must be with in one 2 hour period.

 

My question is whether these stations and bus lines have special card readers. I think they do.

 

Not exactly, you have two hours to make the first transfer and then another two hours to make the second transfer. I've done that a couple of times and it seems to have worked. And I believe this transfer info is encoded onto the

Metrocard.

 

Lastly, why would Staten Islanders cry over paying an extra 50 cents round trip to use the ferry? The ferry could use some funding too. It seems unfair that elsewhere in the city passengers pay up to 83% of the cost of a subway ride from fares (according to Straphangers' Campaign) while Staten Islanders ride a ferry for free, contribute less than 10% of the cost of riding the SIR and spread their fares over buses in SI and transit in Manhattan.

 

The ferry is free and is going to remain free. This is allows us Staten Islanders to remain in a 1-fare zone rather than creating a redundant and unfair 2-fare zone. And plus the SI Ferry is also a major tourist attraction.

 

Yeah, I know subway turnstiles and bus fareboxes display "Go 1 Xfer OK" or "1 Xfer Ok", but I didn't realize that's because some buses and subways allow a second transfer from the SIR or SI buses. What does it read in these circumstances then? "Go 2 Xfer OK"?

 

It just says what it normally says. It'll only say "Go 2 Xfer Ok" if there were two people that transferred on that one card.

 

If you ask me, I think that the best thing the MTA should do to collect lost revenue would be to install a proof of payment system for the SIR. I've always scratched my head since I started exploring Staten Island by myself in 2007 and wondered why they can basically travel from station to station for free.

 

They would lose more money trying to install a fare system rather than just keeping things the way they are now. If they saw the opportunity to collect lost revenue and actually make a profit, they would've jumped on it already.

 

And the 2nd Transfer system also extends beyond the SIR as well, here's a few examples of commutes where you can get that transfer.

 

(R)<->S53<->S40 or S44, S46, S48, S52, S60, S61, S62, S66, S67, S74, S76, S78

(R)<->S79<->S44 or S52, S54, S55, S56, S57, S59, S89

 

OR

 

I've gotten a second transfer before by using a SI Mall Bound S44 then a Brooklyn bound S53 then a St George bound S48. As long as you use either the SIR or S52, S53, S54, S55, S56, S57 in between you'll get that second transfer.

Edited by SIR North Shore

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