BY LUIS GRONDA
A Request for Proposals has been released for citywide ferry service, the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced this week.
Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced the plan to expand ferry service during his State of the City address in February. The administration announced that it has committed about $55 million to create routes that would connect all five boroughs including Astoria and the Rockaways.
According to a press release announcing the RFP, NYCEDC is looking for “ferry operators, transit service providers or other qualified firms to operate a Citywide Ferry System.”
The first three routes of the ferry service are set to launch in 2017, including to Astoria and the Rockaways, with two more potentially launching in 2018. The Citywide ferry service is scheduled to cost $2.75 a ride, the same cost for riding a subway and bus in the City.
Some local elected officials, while welcoming towards this plan that starts in two years, are hoping to restore some kind of ferry service for the rest of 2015 and 2016. De Blasio took some heat earlier this year for shutting down a route to the Rockaways that was instituted after Superstorm Sandy, saying it was too expensive to run and ridership was too low. State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) has proposed to turn an unused U.S. Coast Guard dock in Fort Tilden to serve as a dock for a restored ferry service to run to the Rockaway Peninsula.
“While we wait for the permanent ferry service to set sail in 2017, utilizing this Fort Tilden dock could be a smart, practical, temporary route to take,” Addabbo said in a statement. “It already exists, and requires no study. A ferry operator could start pulling boats up tomorrow. There is parking for Rockaway residents wanting to travel off the Peninsula and Gateway Beach nearby for beach visitors.”
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, email@example.com, or @luisgronda.