Pay the ferryman! New East River service begins

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New York Waterway launched its much-anticipated ferry fleet on Monday, shuttling Manhattan-bound commuters across the East River for the first time since 2009.

At 7 am, there was already a line at each pier, but service didn’t officially begin until a boatload of giddy public officials, including Mayor Bloomberg, cut a ceremonial ribbon and boarded a 76-foot catamaran in Williamsburg to celebrate the ship’s maiden voyage to Midtown — the result of a three-year, $9.3-million subsidy by the city.

Bloomberg called the money an investment in the city’s waterfront development.

“The new ferry service will augment growth of Brooklyn neighborhoods and make it easier for New Yorkers to commute from and get to these residential neighborhoods and waterfront parks,” he said.

The new service will make stops at Fulton Ferry Landing in DUMBO, Schaefer Landing and Northside Pier in Williamsburg, and India Street in Greenpoint every 20 to 30 minutes for 14 hours a day.

The ferry is free until June 24, when water commuters will pay $4 for a single ride or $140 for a monthly pass. There’s a $1 surcharge for bikes.

The last company to ferry passengers across the East River pulled up anchor two years ago amid complaints that the city failed to subsidize the service to allow the company to make any money.

This time around, New York Waterway CEO Paul Goodman said the city’s support, two new piers, and the frequency of ferry service would keep their company afloat.

“The city’s subsidizing our service allows us to offer rush hour frequency which is different than any previous attempt to provide commuter service,” said Goodman.

Already there is some carping: One bike advocacy group wants cycles to be free, and the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association wants the service expanded to Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue.

But most commuters were thrilled to set sail.

“It’s really fast, and it was a smooth ride, so that’s good,” said Shavonn Dubois, who picked up a boat from Fulton Landing. “Anything that means I don’t have to get on a train is a good thing.”

And Williamsburg resident Mary Meehan, who boarded at Northside Pier at N. Sixth Street, called the ride a “treat.”

“Oh my goodness, there’s no city like New York City,” said Meehan. “We’ve got everything now!”

— with Meredith Deliso

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

anywho says:
9.3 million dollar subsidy for a ferry? Meanwhile the City wants to close down firehouses and daycare centers. Last time I checked, the J/Z/M work fine.

The City is subsidizing "treats", while hard working New Yorkers have to worry about where they leave their kids while they work or go to school.

Just great.
June 14, 2011, 6:23 am
Danny G from Queens says:

Take a look at the city subsidy for the Staten Island Ferry. There are many subsidies we don't even realize. We have it easy in this country with the city subsidy for picking up trash. In other places, you have to pay per bag if you want something carted away.
June 14, 2011, 10:29 am
anywho says:
"subsidy for picking up trash", give me a break.

Trash disposal is a municipal service, it is a necessity. As a matter of fact, the Staten Island Ferry should not be free to users. A subsidy for it, ok, I will give you that, but the users should pay something. Staten Island is the only Borough with no subway connected to any other borough. It does have various bus services. The SI ferry is a major way for people to get to their borough.

I have a problem with ANYONE saying that this ferry service is a way to enhance the waterfront development. That is a complete sham, shenanigans that costs us all money that can go to a better use, like firehouses and daycare centers to name a few.

You want economic development at the waterfront, I have the answer: free market capitalism.

June 14, 2011, 1:10 pm
WburgGuy from Williamsburg says:
$4 a ride?? Why is the Staten Island Ferry free? The only people using that all day are tourists looking for a free ride by the statue of liberty.

But hey- at least I can avoid reduce overcrowding on the L for 2 weeks before never taking the ferry again!
June 14, 2011, 3:43 pm
A O from BKLYN says:
this is going to service like 4 ppl a day all this money and effort and it will not be used....
June 14, 2011, 9:31 pm
Hopper from L-S_S says:
I just got off the boat. It's excellent: fast, refreshing, and free for 2 weeks. I'm in til then, when it becomes Bloomy's service for waterfront condo-buying wall streeters.They can afford it, keeps em off our trains
June 15, 2011, 9:57 am
Joey Bots says:
Why is this happening when there is talk of teacher layoffs and closing of firehouses?
June 15, 2011, 3:54 pm
Bay Ridger from Bay Ridge says:
What happened to the service at the 58th St pier in Sunset Park? The pier and the parking have been locked down for quite a while now.
July 14, 2011, 8:45 am
NewGuy from Williamsburg says:
What stops does this make in te city? Does it go near the staten island ferry?
Sept. 15, 2011, 3:38 pm

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