The Staten Island Ferry's fare-free service is seen as both a critical transportation link that brings transit-starved residents to a paid subway ride and as an unfair freebie to its critics.
Now, there are calls to hit tourists with a $4 fare to fund transportation in the city from Queens advocates trying to keep ferry service in the Rockaways past October.
"Staten Island is already receiving a generous subsidy, while Rockaway is still desperately in need of permanent ferry service and better transportation options," Queens Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said in a statement.
Just 15% of ferry riders in Staten Island live outside of the city, according to a recent Independent Budget Office analysis of the idea. The city paid an average of $5.75 a passenger this year.
Charging for rides could generate $35.5 million in net revenue over 15 years with a stand-alone fare system; letting riders pay with a MetroCard would generate $67.4 million over the same period if the MTA paid the city for each swipe of an unlimited-ride.