Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cross-Sound Ferry Special Offers: Equal Opportunity for Southbound Individuals

The Cross-Sound Ferry is a service which offers transit via ferry across the Long Island Sound between Orient Point, New York, and New London, Connecticut. This service allows you to either way onto the ferry for a fee of about fifteen dollars (one-way) or to bring your vehicle on-board for about forty-six dollars (one-way). I have used this service on average twice a month for the past three and a half years, as I reside on Long Island and I attend a university in Rhode Island. On a number of occasions, I have received promotional specials from the Cross-Sound Ferry Service via email which offer a discounted fare of sixty dollars round-trip for a car and up to six passengers, as long as the trip originates from the Long Island side.

This may very well be an offer to encourage Long Islanders to vacation in New England for the weekend, as the promotional discount is often accompanied by hotel and attraction coupons located in Connecticut. However, arguably, Connecticut is no more a vacation destination for individuals and families alike than Long Island.

As a student hailing from the east end of Long Island attending a Rhode Island university, this offer is completely useless to me. During the academic year, nine of twelve months, I am not looking to purchase round-trip ferry tickets from Long Island to New England (then back to Long Island), because I need to be in New England to attend school. However, on a number of occasions (various weekends throughout the semester, holidays, etc.), I am looking to purchase round-trip ferry tickets originating from the New London side. The Cross-Sound Ferry Service should offer a discouont to passengers traveling from New London to Orient Point as often as it offers a discount to passengers traveling in the reverse direction, from Orient Point to New London.

Offering the same discounts to passengers traveling in either direction is a matter of fairness. If up to six individuals per a vehicle can travel from the Orient Point ferry terminal to the New London ferry terminal for sixty dollars, round-trip, it is only fair for passengers traveling from the New London ferry terminal to the Orient Point ferry terminal to have the same discount opportunity.

In addition to fairness, offering equal discounts is particularly important to students. I know I am not the only student regularly using this service to get from Long Island to New England. There are dozens of students attending universities in the New England area who are from Long Island. The ferry is a fast and convenient option of getting from Point A to Point B, which saves money on gas and mileage on your vehicle. I would imagine more students taking advantage of this resource if it did not cost upwards of ninety dllars for a round-trip with a vehicle.

Furthermore, offering the same discounts to passengers traveling in either direction is especially effective in competition with other transportation options. Amtrak offers a student discount and even airlines offer "frequent flyer miles." It is wise to reward those who use one mode of transportation regularly, as it ensures a loyalty between passenger and carrier.

To be fair, ferry owner, Stanley Mickus claims he is willing to offer a special discount to students traveling in either direction, however, there is still more to be done by way of offering the same discount to all travelers. If enough Cross-Sound Ferry passengers articulate their interest in equal and fair discount opportunities to Stanley Mickus, we could all save a little money.

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