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Free ferry service now available

TICONDEROGA - Commuters to Vermont can now use the Ticonderoga ferry for free.

Gov. David Paterson announced Oct. 26 New York and Vermont have reached an agreement with the Fort Ticonderoga Ferry operator to offer free ferry service between Ticonderoga and Shoreham, Vt.

He also announced a deal with Lake Champlain Transportation to offer free ferry service at the Essex/Charlotte crossing and the creation of a free express bus service. In addition, pedestrian ferry service has been established north of the Lake Champlain Bridge between Westport, New York and Basin Harbor, Vermont.

"Gov. (jim) Douglas and I continue to work diligently on both sides of the lake to offer transportation alternatives to New York and Vermont residents who have been impacted by the closure of the Champlain Bridge," Paterson said. "We will continue to work with Vermont to find temporary solutions for crossing Lake Champlain and longer-term solutions for reopening the bridge to traffic."

New York and Vermont will subsidize the free ferry service for passenger vehicles, motorcycles, buses, fuel trucks and standard-width agricultural vehicles, including dairy trucks.

The express commuter bus service will transport workers between two parking locations in New York to Porter Medical Center and Middlebury College in Middlebury and the B.F. Goodrich plant in Vergennes. The two-hour bus trips will run Monday through Friday, with morning pick ups and evening drop offs occurring at the Fort Ticonderoga Ferry site and the boat launch on Dock Lane in Port Henry. Buses will depart New York at 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. each morning and will depart Vermont at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. each evening.

A pedestrian ferry is operating between Westport and Basin Harbor, Vt. Parking is available at no charge at the Essex County Fairgrounds and complementary shuttle bus service will transport pedestrian passengers to the ferry. Parking is also available at the Basin Harbor Club in Vermont.

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