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The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company

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From left, Kathy Lahey from Island Heart Food Pantry, Michael Eamotte from the Port Jefferson ferry company, MPMSHS volunteers Ann Donato, Katie Streitweiser, Penny Roca, Margaret Cibulka, Eric Grotz, Councilwoman Jane Bonner, MPMSHS volunteers Debby Michienzi, Sally Ditewig and Liz Fiordalisi. Photo from Bonner’s office

On Nov. 15, Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) visited the historic Daniel Hawkins House in Miller Place to support a food drive held by the Miller Place Mount Sinai Historical Society and The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company. The drive will benefit the Mt. Sinai Congregational Church Island Heart Food Pantry, located at 643 Middle Country Road in Middle Island which operates out of the Mount Sinai Church. 

“The pandemic is having a severe impact on so many people who are struggling every day to feed themselves and their families,” Bonner said. “Island Heart Food Pantry is a lifeline in the community, and I thank Miller Place Mount Sinai Historical Society and Port Jefferson ferry for joining this effort. I urge everyone to donate whatever they can to help make the holidays a happier time for our neighbors in need.”

To learn how you can donate food or if you need food, please call 631-473-1582 or visit www.mpmshistoricalsociety.org.

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat ferry company is temporarily operating with a significantly scaled down schedule. File photo

Ferry riders beware.

Frequent passengers of the Bridgeport-to-Port Jefferson ferry have fewer travel options for the time being.

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company currently has just one of its typical three-ship fleet available, according to Fred Hall, vice president and general manager of the ferry company located in Port Jefferson Village on the New York side of the Long Island Sound.

One of the ships, the PT Barnum, is out of service due to a bent propeller wheel, and The Park City is also unavailable because of needed repairs. Hall said the wheel of the PT Barnum was bent last week when the underside of the vessel hit an underwater piling. The Grand Republic is the only ship left standing.

Temporary ferry schedule April 9 through 12

Port Jeff departures:

6 a.m.

9 a.m.

12:15 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

7 p.m.

Bridgeport departures:

7:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m.

1:45 p.m.

5 p.m.

8:30 p.m.

“We wish we could offer a little more convenient schedule, but we only have one boat operating,” Hall said in a phone interview.

The company alerted riders of the pared down temporary schedule in a Facebook post April 7.

“The ferry company regrets that we must reduce our schedule for the foreseeable future and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience,” the post said.

Hall said the plan is to get the PT Barnum to a shipyard for repairs later this week — either April 12 or 13 he said — and that he expected the propeller replacement should not be more than a one-day job, and a two-boat schedule would be reinstated in short order. There is no current timetable for The Park City’s return.

Service was impacted last weekend, with only two trips departing from Port Jefferson April 7 — one at 5 p.m. and one at 8:15 p.m. Typically 11 ferries rides would leave from Port Jeff on a Saturday or Sunday. Five trips were made Sunday, April 8. Just prior to the start of the work week, the company announced again via its Facebook that fewer rides would be offered at least through April 12. Ships will be departing Port Jeff at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. through April 12, compared to a usual 10-ride weekday schedule. Only five return trips from Bridgeport, Connecticut are currently offered for the duration of the shortened service as well, with the earliest being 7:30 a.m. and the latest 8:30 p.m.

Several Facebook users commented on the two posts expressing frustration with the inconvenience.

“One boat = mismanagement, where does all the money go?” poster Kristine Sawdey said.

More than one commenter said they hoped the shortened service would be over soon.

The PT Barnum has been part of the company’s fleet since 1998. The 300-foot vessel has the capacity to hold up to 120 vehicles and 1,000 passengers, according to the ferry’s website.