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Monday, September 17, 2012

Talking Transportation: Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Ferry

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

Every now and then it’s great to see a transportation system that works really well. Case in point, the Bridgeport to Port Jefferson ferry.

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I’ve written in the past about some folks’ crazy idea that ferry boats are the solution to our traffic problems along I-95. They are not. But they do prove useful when they take you where the roads and rails can’t, like across Long Island Sound.

The first ferry ran this 18-mile route in 1872. By 1883 permanent service was offered by a company owned in part by Bridgeport’s PT Barnum (after whom one of the line’s current vessels is named). In 1980, all-season service began with the line’s largest vessel, “The Grand Republic”.

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company is 100 percent owned by Brian McAllister, a fourth generation seaman and tugboat czar who lives on Long Island. You’ll usually see one of his tugs in Port Jeff’s harbor.

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