City floats Ridge’s boat

Testing the water! Ferry pilot program launches from Brooklyn Army Terminal
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

It’s a ferry tale come true!

The city is poised to extend the commuter boat service from the Brooklyn Army Terminal, which is supposed to ease the pain of the truncated R train, for another three months, sources said.

Insiders said the Brooklyn-to-Manhattan rush hour cruises that launched last August will keep paddling on through the end of April. The service is supposed replace the R train, which stopped running under the East River in the summer of 2013 to allow for repairs to Hurricane Sandy-damaged tunnels and will not reconnect with Manhattan until November of this year.

The R is Bay Ridge’s lone subway link to the other boroughs, and Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) and state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) have called for ferries to run until the connection is restored.

Commuter boats last plied the waters between Sunset Park and Wall Street in 2010, but the city discontinued that round of service because of low ridership. The politicians have said it is up to Ridgites to keep commuter numbers high.

“They gave us this ferry, now the ball is in our court, and it’s our job to make sure people use it,” Gentile told us last year.

The first boats launch from the Army Terminal dock on weekday mornings at 6:20 am. Another boat departs at 7:10 am, followed by ships at 8:20, 8:50, and 10:05 am. They dock first at Wall Street, then head upriver to East 34th Street.

The fare is $2 one-way, and commuters can skip the train altogether by paying $2 to ride the shuttle van that picks up passengers above every Bay Ridge R stop starting in time to make the 7:10 ferry.

The shuttle stops at 95th Street and Fourth Avenue 40 minutes before each departure, at 86th and Fourth 35 minutes beforehand, at 77th and Fourth 30 minutes early, and at 69th Street and Fourth 25 minutes prior to launch.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him attwitter.com/WillBredderman.