In a city with both its subway and bus currently in crisis, hearing anything positive about a transit system seems impossible. But, as the New York Times reports, the popularity of New York City’s ferry service continues to grow, with its fleet carrying 700,000 more passengers than officials had first expected. Plus, two of the four ferry routes already serve more riders than had been projected for 2019. The success of the citywide ferry, which serves as an alternative to the problem-plagued trains, has officials brainstorming ideas for express routes to get commuters to their destinations even faster.
As 6sqft covered last month, the city’s ferry service, which launched May 1, has been so popular that frustrated passengers often face delays, long lines and overcrowding when trying to board. While officials had anticipated demand on the weekends for the NYC Ferry to be high, they did not expect how much this demand would “outstrip supply,” as the New York Times reported. To meet demand, the city will charter two extra boats that will carry 400 people to serve the summer weekend crowds.
Mayor de Blasio’s citywide ferry service initiative, which launched May 1, was meant to provide commuters with an alternative to the problem-plagued subway. However, just under a month after the city launched the NYC Ferry service, passengers have faced delays, long lines, and overcrowding. As the New York Times reports, the ferry service transported roughly 26,000 passengers in total this past holiday weekend, with the East River Route carrying more than 9,600 people each day. In response to high demand, an extra three boats were put into service.
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With the launch of the much-anticipated NYC Ferry quickly approaching, crews responsible for manning the boats continue to train in preparation. As amNY shares in a new video, before captains can operate the ferries, they must first master a digital simulation at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx. In a small room shaped like a ferry wheelhouse with wraparound screens that provide a 360-degree view of the New York Harbor, captains in training must steer past digital boat traffic and landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Overseen by staff members from Hornblower Cruises, the simulator tests an applicant’s decision-making skills, navigational abilities, and understanding of Coast Guard Regulations.
To celebrate the ahead-of-schedule launch of the Citywide Ferry service, Mayor de Blasio rode the first ferry (named “Lunchbox” by second graders from Bay Ridge) this morning into Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 as part of an official dedication ceremony. Beginning May 1st, all New Yorkers can join in the revelry when the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route kick off. Service to South Brooklyn starts in June, and the Astoria route will be launched sometime in August. In all, there will be 21 stops added throughout the city as part of the expanded service. On top of today’s festivities, the city also released the official new ferry schedules.
For the first time in 100 years, ferry service will be available to all five boroughs as part of a two-year $325 million initiative by Mayor de Blasio. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the plan will add at least 200 jobs to the city’s economy. Half of these available jobs will pay at least $50,000 per year or more, according to the mayor. The plan for the citywide ferry service, launching this summer, will be managed by the Economic Development Corporation and Hornblower Cruises, who will hire deckhands, captains and other crew members.
City officials are pushing to have the $325 million citywide ferry service, helmed by Hornblower and managed by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, up and running a few months before next November, when Mayor Bill de Blasio stands for re-election. As 6sqft reported in September, two bayou-based shipbuilding companies, Horizon Shipbuilding in Bayou La Batre, Ala. and the awesomely-named Metal Shark in Franklin, La., are racing to complete the 19 new boats scheduled to hit the water this summer. The ferry service will be the most extensive passenger ferry service of its kind in any U.S. city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Citywide Ferry operator Hornblower have announced that construction has officially begun on 19 vessels that will kick off New York City’s first citywide ferry system, with vessels sporting the latest in 21st century maritime technology. The mayor said in a statement, “We are moving full steam ahead and bringing modern ferry boats, outfitted with the latest technology and safety features, to our waterways. This new fleet will help us connect commuters and visitors alike to neighborhoods throughout the city.”