New York City's ferry service has carried more than 1 million riders since its inception May 1, the city said on Wednesday, as it announced that a fourth ferry route will begin service next month.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Long Island City to announce the new route will connect Astoria, Long Island City, Roosevelt Island, 34th Street and Wall Street starting on Aug. 29.
NYC Ferry wasn’t forecast to hit 1 million riders until Aug. 23, based on preliminary projections. Responding to the already rising demand, the city had recently announced the ferry service is adding capacity to three of its 20 boats to allow 249 passengers to board, compared to 149 on its standard boats.
“It’s been less than three months and NYC Ferry has already served 1 million riders,” de Blasio said. “As we prepare to launch the Astoria route, we continue to add capacity to this brand new and wildly popular system -- one that connects transit-starved neighborhoods and commuters to jobs and the wider city.”
To celebrate one million riders, NYC Ferry on Wednesday was offering half price draft beverages -- including coffee, beer and wine -- on all ships equipped with concessions.
“We knew NYC Ferry would be popular, but a million riders in less than three months is beyond our wildest expectations,” said NYC Economic Development Corp. President James Patchett. “More and more New Yorkers are taking to the water to get to work or enjoy our parks and beaches -- all for just $2.75. And with the Astoria route launching next month, we’ll be at 2 million riders before you know it!”
Once the NYC Ferry system is fully operational, the combined routes will cover more than 60 miles of waterway at $2.75 a ride, the same cost of a subway ride. The cost of a 30-day unlimited ferry pass is $121, the same as a 30-day MetroCard.
“With more and more people choosing to live and build a small business in Long Island City and Western Queens, it’s more important than ever to have a variety of safe and reliable transportation options that have the capacity to handle this growth,” said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer.
“NYC Ferry has provided not only a new fun and exciting transportation option for communities near and far, but has added important resiliency to our existing networks,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Council Transportation Committee. “It is great to see the popularity of our new ferry system exceeding expectations, while bringing a new service to transit deserts.”
NYC Ferry will eventually run six routes and so far has launched three. The Rockaway and East River routes began on May 1. The South Brooklyn Route began operating ferries June 1. The Astoria Route will launch Aug. 29, with the Lower East Side and Soundview routes set to begin in 2018.
“Since its launch, the NYC Ferry service has quickly become one of the most popular and effective transportation alternatives for residents, commuters and visitors. By investing in upgraded ferry stops and a mobile ticket system, our city has taken the steps to revolutionize our NYC transportation system to be more affordable, environmentally friendly, and accessible for New Yorkers on the go,” said City Council member Margaret Chin.