New York, NY - City Will Start All-Day Ferry Service on East River
New York, NY - For all their dominance on Staten Island, ferries have long struggled to muscle their way into the city’s mass transit mainstream. Experiments in Queens and Brooklyn have been held back by infrequent service, outsize operating costs and low ridership.
But the city, unfazed by past failures, is now embarking on a more ambitious plan: a year-round ferry network that will provide all-day service in the East River, starting in June.
Under the plan, to be announced on Wednesday, ferries will travel along a seven-stop route that stretches from Long Island City, Queens, to the Fulton Ferry landing by the Brooklyn Bridge, and includes Manhattan terminals at Pier 11 in the financial district and East 34th Street. During peak hours, boats will arrive at each stop every 20 minutes and travel in both directions.
The service is an attempt by the Bloomberg administration and the City Council to create a robust and viable mass transit alternative for a growing waterfront population that has struggled with clogged subway lines and bus routes that have been truncated or eliminated altogether.
“If we want every part of Brooklyn, every part of Queens, to be as attractive to businesses and residents as Midtown Manhattan is,” said Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, “we have to make it as easy as possible to get to and from in an orderly, affordable fashion. That is what ferries can do.”
The program comes with $9 million in guaranteed city money and a commitment to maintain the service for three years. The board of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which will oversee the service, is expected to award a contract to BillyBey, a division of New York Waterway, in a vote on Wednesday.
There is an existing East River ferry service, run by New York Water Taxi, but it makes only a handful of runs each day, during the morning and afternoon rush.
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