Water surprise! New ferry service will offer free bus transfers during L-train shutdown

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It’s a-boat time!

Straphangers who board the fleet of ferries dedicated to shuttling them across the East River from Williamsburg when the L train shuts down next year will get a free transfer to buses waiting for them on the other side, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Every $2.75 ticket for the Brooklyn–Manhattan water taxis, which depart from the same port as the North Williamsburg stop on the NYC Ferry service, will award passengers free admission on two Select Bus Service routes once they arrive on dry land at Stuyvesant Cove near 20th Street on the distant isle — unlike tickets for the citywide ferry system, which do not allow free transfers to Authority-run subways and buses.

Riders can purchase tickets for the boats at Select Bus Service machines stationed at their piers on each side of the river.

The ferries will set sail Sun–Thurs from 6 am to midnight and Fri–Sat from 6 am to 2 am when the L-train’s underwater tunnel closes in April 2019, officials from the state-run Authority — which will oversee the new service — said at a Community Board 1 meeting on Feb. 13.

And during peak commuting times, as many as eight will carry up to 1,200 passengers going in each direction per hour, according to the agency, which is working with the city’s Departments of Transportation and Parks and Recreation to finalize the plan’s details.

Straphangers can also sail to the outer borough on the citywide ferry service, which embarks from different points up and down the Brooklyn coastline.

The announcement of the dedicated Williamsburg–Manhattan boats followed the release of other alternative-transportation proposals during the so-called “L-pocolypse,” which include boosting service on the G, J, M, and Z trains; adding cars to elongate G and C trains; installing a new bike lane from the edge of Newtown Creek at Grand Street down to Driggs Avenue; creating a special high-occupancy-vehicle lane across the Williamsburg Bridge reserved for cars carrying three or more passengers during a to-be-determined “rush-hour” window; and adding three new bus routes that will run from Grand Street and Bedford Avenue over the Williamsburg-to-Manhattan span — all of which will connect to other bus stops and some subway stations along their routes.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:48 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Train rider from Greenpoint says:
This sounds great!
Feb. 26, 2018, 7:54 pm
Geoffrey from Williamsburg says:
All of this needs to happen because the waterfront neighborhoods are ballooning, not because of the shutdown. Another freebie for the developers.
Feb. 26, 2018, 11:08 pm
Paco from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
1200 passengers an hour? L Train closure affects 225,000 people taking it beneath the East River each day. The boosted service elsewhere will help... but the ferry service is essentially just a rounding error in this situation.
Feb. 27, 2018, 8:30 am
Lionel from Williamsburg says:
Free transfers? That should always be the case. Transfers increase travel time considerably. What was once an hour commute is now looking to be two.
Feb. 27, 2018, 8:37 am
Jake from Williamsburg says:
The J, M, Z are already overcrowded during rush hours.
Feb. 27, 2018, 9:02 am
Freddy from Bushwick says:
Those who bother to endure will be eventually priced out, just as their predecessors were.
Feb. 27, 2018, 9:05 am
Sammy from Bushwick says:
Will the buses have enforced dedicated lanes?
Feb. 27, 2018, 9:16 am
Chris from Brooklyn says:
I don't know how to live in the motherf---ing country.
Feb. 27, 2018, 9:36 am
Paul from Williamsburg says:
Chris, it's easy. You just cut down some earth saving trees and set up a baby making shop. Don't worry, this will all eventually flatline pop once we realize growth is not the same as strength.
Feb. 27, 2018, 9:45 am
School of Visual Arts Student from Williamsburg says:
Sweet! I am already only a couple of blocks away from my school on 23rd Street where the ferry lets us off. This beats walking up First Avenue from 14th Street. And I can sell my free bus transfer to someone and make some money!
Feb. 27, 2018, 9:50 am

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