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

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

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 jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.