When the NYPD got tired of Staten Island Ferry riders fighting over power outlets for their phones and laptops—one ferry worker even got punched to the ground while attempting to break up a power outlet dispute—the Department of Transportation responded by cutting off the juice to most of the charging ports (the ones "linked with violence," according to the NYPD). Now, in a happy reversal, the city has confirmed that it plans to install USB chargers throughout the Manhattan and Staten Island terminals this fall, and on the ferries soon after.
When new boats join the fleet in 2019, the city promises they'll also be outfitted with the latest in charging technology. (By then, most of us will be fully charged from the bus or the train or the subway platform, anyway.)
"DOT wants to strike a balance by embracing ever-evolving phone charging technology, but also address public safety," DOT spokesman Scott Gastel told the Staten Island Advance.
We've asked the city to clarify its logic—will there be so many USB chargers on each boat that commuters won't have to compete?—and will update if we get more details.
The DOT has retained the right to cut off power on Staten Island Ferry boats for several years, pre-dating the de Blasio administration. The decision was apparently born of a request for assistance from the NYPD, after cops decided that the outlets posed a safety threat.