There's no arguing that this is the best commute to the city. The views from the ferry are wonderful and it's a short trip across the water from the Port Imperial ferry terminal.
But you're out of luck if you're a resident in the apartment and condo communities north of the terminal (Bulls Ferry, Jacobs Ferry) who rely on the shuttle bus (also operated by NY Waterway) to get to the terminal.
For some bizarre reason, the shuttles to the terminal are NOT timed so that passengers arrive on time to catch the next ferry. In fact, it's quite the opposite, they often arrive just as the ferry is pulling away from the terminal, or a minute before departure time. This means that everyone has to get off the shuttle and run like crazy to try and reach the boat, or end up waiting another 10 or 20 minutes for the next one.
And because the NY Waterway buses in Manhattan change their routes after the 10am ferry arrives, if you work over on the east side and miss the 10am ferry, the bus is useless and you end up either taking the NYC Transit bus across town, or, if you're in a hurry, blowing $12+ on a taxi.
The situation gets really bad between 9 and 10am on weekdays. Odds are, if you live in Jacobs Ferry or Bulls Ferry, you need to allow an extra 15 minutes or more on your commute in order to budget in time spent standing at the bus stop, praying the bus will arrive soon so you can get the ferry and make it to work on time.
It might seem like a small thing, but a lot of people paid a lot of money for their apartments and condos for the very reason that they would have a short commute to the city, and just because NY Waterway could care less about their customers, commuting time for locals has gotten to be longer than it needs to be. (It wasn't like this in early 2009.)
If NY Waterway would have those shuttles leave 5 minutes earlier than they currently are, there would be no problem. The buses would get to the terminal with enough time for passengers to walk at a normal pace to the boat slips.
Oh, and good luck if you get the bus driver in the morning who's bald and wears glasses. He talks on his cell phone while driving, and even when he's making left turns (which would be a great time to keep both hands on the wheel). Never mind that this is illegal in NJ, it's also just plain unsafe, especially when he's got the lives of his passengers in his hands.
And he could care less about the fact that people are in a hurry to get to work in the morning. At least the other driver, the younger Cuban guy, is mindful of the time and hustles to get people to the ferry. The cell phone guy seems to actually enjoy reaching the terminal too late. I guess he's related to the someone high up at NY Waterway, because he clearly knows he has a job for life and has to answer to no one.
While NY Waterway was quick to take advantage of the role they played in rescuing people from the downed US Air flight in the Hudson (printing huge banners to hang on the NY and NJ terminals, starting up ""Miracle on the Hudson"" tours, even making a video about the event that they ran in the terminals) they really don't care what the daily commuters think about the ""service"" they're getting (or not getting).
Calls to their offices just get you someone person telling you how sorry they are and they'll report your complaint, but nothing is ever done.
Yes, it's a great way to get to work, but for anyone thinking of buying or renting in Bulls Ferry, Jacob's Ferry, or the other K Hovnanian buildings in West New York and Guttenberg because you want a quick easy trip to work every day, think twice about how short your commute is really going to be, if that's why you're moving there.
Oh, and the fares just went up.
Pros: beautiful commute to Manhattan
Cons: NYW buses NOT timed to ferries, commute takes too long