Mayor de Blasio Extends Rockaway Ferry Service

January 21, 2014

CONTACT: pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov, (212) 788-2958

Rockaway and Brooklyn Service Continued, Request for Proposals in Development for Long-Term Ferry Service

Borough President Melinda Katz, Queens and Brooklyn Officials Applaud Extension Serving Communities Hard-Hit by Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the extension of weekday ferry service between the Rockaways and Lower Manhattan. The ferries, which also stop in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, were slated to end on January 31. The extension until May, with an option to extend until August, will allow the city’s Economic Development Corporation to issue a request for proposals to determine the viability of long-term service and identify an operator for the line. The ferry service launched in November 2012 and has carried more than 200,000 passengers since.

“We are committed to the Rockaways’ recovery. From accelerating rebuilding programs to today’s ferry extension, we are going to keep our focus on communities hit hard by Sandy to ensure no one is left behind,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“I applaud the decision of Mayor de Blasio to extend ferry service in the Rockaways. Affordable and fast transportation is vital to the growth and future of the peninsula. I also look forward to the upcoming RFP process and moving forward with making this essential service permanent,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

The service, operated by Seastreak, will continue to run on its current schedule and charge $3.50 per ride. Ferries will continue to connect Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive in the Rockaways, where the Economic Development Corporation has installed a temporary landing, the Brooklyn Army Terminal (serving Sunset Park and Bay Ridge) and Pier 11/Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. Free transfers are offered between Pier 11 and East 34th Street in Midtown.

NYCEDC, on behalf of the city, will issue a Request for Proposals next month to determine the potential for long-term ferry operation for the route. Response to the RFP will be evaluated in tandem with ridership levels during the extension to determine if service will be additionally renewed through August 1, 2014.

“While the Rockaway Ferry service began as an emergency measure, serving residents after Hurricane Sandy devastated other public transit options, it has since proved to be a valuable part of the city’s transportation infrastructure,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “This service extension ensures that commuters can continue utilizing this convenient, sustainable transportation option, and we look forward to exploring the potential for long-term service along this route.”

This is the fourth extension of the ferry service since its initial launch in November 2012, two weeks after Hurricane Sandy devastated waterfront communities across the city. The ferry was a critical mode of inter-borough public transportation available to Rockaway residents during the seven-month A-train suspension after the hurricane. In August 2013, the Brooklyn Army Terminal landing, located at 58th Street in Sunset Park, was added to the existing Rockaway service to provide further transit options for Brooklyn commuters impacted by Sandy-related long-term disruptions to the R train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“I thank Mayor de Blasio and EDC President Kimball for working to extend our city’s commitment to quality transportation access for all New Yorkers, be they in Bay Ridge, Belle Harbor or beyond,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “It is my hope that this RFP will identify ways we can best continue this ferry service, which has been a benefit to the residents of southwest Brooklyn. I will continue to work with my elected colleagues, including strong advocates like Queens Borough President Katz and Council Member Gentile, to push for and support improvements to our transportation system.”

“I applaud the Mayor’s decision to extend the Rockaway Ferry Service until May. The ferry was indispensable in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and has proved invaluable for restoring daily travel for nearly a thousand Rockaway residents and other New Yorkers to and from Brooklyn and Manhattan,” said Member of Congress Gregory Meeks. “I am very encouraged as well that the Mayor’s decision includes an option for an additional extension that would provide the NYC Economic Development Corporation with enough time to issue a request for proposals for ongoing service and to identify a permanent operator.”

“The extension allows us a window of opportunity to create permanent service in the Rockaways. I remain optimistic that through the continued, cooperative efforts of the elected officials and the residents, the city will achieve permanence,” said State Senator Joe Addabbo.

“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his leadership and his commitment to the residents of the outer boroughs in extending ferry service to south Brooklyn and the Rockaway peninsula. Along with the increased ferry service for Staten Island expected later this year, Mayor de Blasio is proposing a well-needed service to an area of the city that has always been underserved by public transportation,” said State Senator Diane Savino.

“The residents of southwest Brooklyn, who utilize the ferry service from the Brooklyn Army Terminal, are breathing a sigh of relief. Thanks to the efforts of Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration, Brooklynites will continue to have access to our waterway for fast and convenient transportation,” said State Senator Marty Golden.

“The Rockaway ferry has become a lifeline for so many families still recovering from Sandy,” said Assembly Member Phil Goldfeder. “Increased transit options, including the ferry, will allow our community to thrive and our small businesses to grow. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Borough President Melinda Katz for their steadfast commitment to the families of southern Queens and Rockaway, and for their long-term vision for our community.”

“Since its inception following Hurricane Sandy, ferry service has provided a fast, reliable and affordable commute for many of my constituents. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and his administration for extending this vital lifeline and for his continued help and support in the recovery process. This announcement is just another example of what can be accomplished when elected officials and community members work together for the common good,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich.

“I would like to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio for his steadfast commitment to the people of the Rockaways by ensuring ferry services continues,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Transportation is and continues to be difficult for commuters in the Rockaways, who have to travel nearly two hours to get to Manhattan on a good day, so I commend the administration on moving quickly to explore the option of permanent service for my constituents.”

“I’m so excited about this extension of the ferry service and thank Mayor de Blasio and his team for understanding the importance of this service to the people of Brooklyn and Queens. The ferry lives!” said Council Member Vincent Gentile.

“Seastreak is honored to be able to continue serving the hardworking people of the Rockaways and Brooklyn through a new agreement with the City of New York,” said James A. Barker, President of Seastreak LLC. “We are glad that our customers will be able to continue to ride on Seastreak’s comfortable and reliable high speed ferries to and from Pier 11/Wall Street and East 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Thank you to the de Blasio administration, NYCEDC, and the City of New York for their efforts in continuing to partner with us to provide this much-needed service.”

“National Grid is committed to partnering with our customers and communities, and we have provided heating support to 22,000 customers so they can fully recover from Sandy,” said Ken Daly, President, National Grid -- New York. “We are pleased to work with the city to continue to provide parking for the ferry service to assist the impacted communities in the Rockaway Peninsula.”

Existing parking at Beach 108th Street in the Rockaways—which is being provided by National Grid—and at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park will remain available to passengers. The expanded ferry service is being coordinated on behalf of the city by NYCEDC. A full list of schedules and fares can be found at www.seastreak.com.