BY JON CRONIN
Three of the city’s 20 NYC Ferry boats pulled into New York Harbor on Monday and docked at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was on-hand to welcome the new vessels and christen them with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. Brooklyn elementary school students named the first vessel “Lunchbox.”
The Rockaway Ferry will begin service on May 1, while the Astoria Ferry will launch on June 1. Maps of the ferry routes will be available at all ferry dock locations.
“Over 4,000 daily East River Ferry customers will see fares reduced from $4 to the cost of a single subway ride,” according to the mayor’s office.
Free transfers will be available to any other ferry route within the system, including the East River Ferry. All forms of payment will be accepted and paper and smartphone ticketing will be available. There will also be discounts for seniors, children and New Yorkers with disabilities. Bicyclists will be able to board with their bikes for a $1 fee.
Each boat will be able to carry 150 passengers, equipped with Wi-Fi and American Disabilities Act compliant.
Infrastructure upgrades to the city’s current landing and the addition of 10 more landings will cost approximately $55 million. The city will pay $30 million per year for operating costs over six years, which is based on 4.6 million annual trips spread across the 20 destinations. The city will also allocate $10 million for vessel upgrades, ticketing machines and startup costs. If ridership exceeds 5.6 million, the city will receive a portion of the revenue.
“As we prepare for launch day on May 1, we celebrate the arrival of NYC Ferry to New York Harbor and what this new citywide ferry service represents: greater opportunity for every New Yorker, from the Rockaways to the Bronx and at just $2.75 a ride,” de Blasio said during Monday’s announcement.
Community advocates fought hard for the 5:30 a.m. departure from the Rockaway location. According to the mayor’s office, ferries will depart every hour on the half-hour until 8:30 p.m. and on the weekends from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Travel time is estimated at 55 minutes.
Ferries heading to Rockaway Route will depart from Wall Street every hour on the half-hour on weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on weekends from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.