Mayor de Blasio Announces NYC Ferry Rockaway Route Launching May 1st, One Month Ahead of Schedule

April 6, 2017

South Brooklyn Route launching June 1st, followed by Astoria Route in August

City reveals new brand and logo: Meet "NYC Ferry" and visit Ferry.NYC

NEW YORK-Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that Citywide Ferry Service, now officially named "NYC Ferry," will be launching May 1st with two routes: the brand new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route, both of which will cost just $2.75 a ride and include free transfers to other ferry routes. This puts NYC Ferry a full month ahead of schedule, with the system having initially been projected to launch in June of 2017.

Mayor de Blasio also announced that the South Brooklyn Route, with stops in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park will begin service starting on June 1st. The Astoria Route will launch in August, with exact date still being determined, and the Lower East Side and Soundview Routes will be launching in 2018.

"Rockaway residents have some of the longest commute times in the city. We promised we'd bring them our new NYC Ferry service first, and today we're delivering on that promise. Best of all, our first NYC Ferry will set sail May 1 - a full month ahead of schedule," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The de Blasio administration also released a video introducing the new branding and logo for NYC Ferry. The logo and brand identity were developed by Inamoto & Co., a digital and branding agency based in Gowanus, Brooklyn. You can view the video at ferry.nyc.

With 20 vessels operating at 22 landings across New York City, NYC Ferry will carry an estimated 4.6 million trips per year across six routes - providing a new and easily accessible transit option for traditionally underserved communities and where jobs and housing are growing rapidly. Several of those landings, including the Rockaways, are nearly complete. The first of the new vessels arrived in New York Harbor this week, with more boats scheduled to depart shipyards in Louisiana and Alabama in the coming weeks.

"We're less the a month away from launching the first of our brand new NYC Ferry routes, connecting New Yorkers in the Rockaways, Sunset Park, and Lower Manhattan," said NYCEDC President James Patchett. "With more and more people living and working along our waterfront, this is the future of transportation. And as we continue to invest in a truly accessible, five borough economy, NYC Ferry is going to help connect even more working New Yorkers with opportunities all over the city."

"We're excited to introduce our new name, NYC Ferry, which complements our new vessels and exciting new connections in New York Harbor. The Rockaway Route and East River Route will launch May 1st," said Cameron Clark, Senior Vice President for NYC Ferry, operated by Hornblower. "With regular, reliable service on our comfortable vessels, including world-class concessions, all at the same price as a single subway ride, NYC Ferry, operated by Hornblower, will be the newest and easiest way to "work, live, play" for millions of New Yorkers and visitors alike. Get out and explore your New York."

"We love the city we live and work in, and are proud to be able to contribute to a service that will make commuting easier and more accessible. For the ferry's branding, we wanted to create something that felt familiar to NYC residents, and yet fresh at the same time. With people visiting from all over the world, it was important that the system could be easily understood by everyone. We strove for simplicity and timelessness," the principals of Inamoto & Co said.

"The NYC Ferry will provide fast and affordable transportation to tens of thousands of Queens residents," said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. "Queens is pleased with the accelerated start date for the Rockaway route, which has long been underserved by traditional mass transit. The revised service hours are a direct result of the city's consideration of the community's significant input and insights on its needs. By this time next month, the future of transportation will be up and running."

"NYC Ferry has game-changing potential for Brooklyn and its fellow boroughs," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. "Addressing the challenges of transit-starved neighborhoods, while stimulating economic growth and quality of life enhancements from Bay Ridge to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, are reasons for us to look forward to the start of service later this spring. I am committed to helping advance a ferry vision that best serves our underserved communities, and I am particularly excited about the prospects of growing this vision to further connect our southern Brooklyn waterfront, including a future stop planned for Coney Island."

"New Yorkers need all the mass transit options we can get, and NYC Ferry service will give us new routes and connections between neighborhoods that we've never had before," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I'm excited for the launch of the service, and hope it's so successful that we have no choice but to expand it to even more neighborhoods."

"Residents of the Rockaways are in desperate need of additional transportation opportunities, so bringing NYC Ferry to the peninsula a month early will help get residents to Manhattan more easily and alleviate the crowded A train and local buses," said Council Member Donovan Richards. "I'd like to thank Mayor de Blasio and the Economic Development Corporation for prioritizing the Rockaways and getting the service up and running ahead of schedule. I look forward to continuing the work on ensuring that this service best serves as many residents on the eastern end of the peninsula as possible."

"I am excited to see that NYC Ferry is launching a month ahead of schedule and look forward to the August launch date for the Astoria route," said Council Member Costa Constantinides. "The ferry will transform Western Astoria, by providing new and convenient commuting options for residents who live only 1,550 feet from Manhattan but usually have to transfer between buses and subways. We will also be making better use of our waterfront resources and providing good jobs for New Yorkers. Thank you to EDC and the de Blasio administration for ensuring that the ferry launches early or on time."

"We're taking back the waterfront and improving commutes with expanded ferry service for New Yorkers," said Council Member Ben Kallos, whose district will be receiving ferry service in three locations. "Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYCEDC President James Patchett for investing in our waterfront and transportation with NYC Ferry, and getting it off the dock ahead of schedule. The $2.75 fare for East Siders already using the East River Ferry will help bring all New Yorkers into an integrated, affordable ferry system."

"The May arrival of our long-awaited Citywide ferry service will transform the way New Yorkers experience transportation on our waterfront," said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. "The first route includes a dock at Sunset Park' Brooklyn Army Terminal and will serve the area's growing population and thriving job center. I thank the EDC for recognizing Red Hook's preference for a ferry location at Atlantic Basin and I look forward to service there later this year. Fares pegged to MTA rates are a good start. But our goal must be true fare integration with free transfers honored between our new "NYC Ferry" and MTA subways and buses."

"For much of our history, our waterways were a driving force behind the success of our city," said Council Member Stephen Levin. "With NYC Ferry, we continue that legacy as we build a more connected community. For the price of a subway ride, NYC Ferry will link traditionally underserved neighborhoods to new jobs and resources. I'm also looking forward to welcoming the homeport - and the jobs that come with it - to the Navy Yard. I applaud the Mayor on making these crucial milestones ahead of schedule, and I look forward to a bustling waterfront."

"I am ecstatic that NYC Ferry will be ready to set sail in 2017 beginning June 1st in South Brooklyn! If you look at a map of New York, you'll see a whole lot of blue. Indeed, before there was a city, there was a harbor. Right along with San Francisco and Hong Kong, New York City has one of the greatest natural harbors in the entire world - and now the waterfront of southern Brooklyn will be connected to it all! We must keep pace with New York City's rapid growth and the five borough ferry service will not only generate jobs but serve as a catalyst for expansion in communities where housing and employment are rising. Thank you EDC and thank you Mayor de Blasio for anchoring this initiative and continuing your groundbreaking work towards making our city the standard for citywide transit be it rail, road or water," Council Member Vincent Gentile said.

"We're very excited that plans have come together to start ferry service earlier than expected," said Council Member Eric Ulrich. "We're especially thankful to hear the news that the EDC has been receptive to the concerns of my constituents with regard to scheduling an additional early trip which will allow so many hard working people in the construction trades the opportunity to use this service."

"I'm thrilled that with the full integration of the East River ferry to Long Island City comes lower fares and free transfers," said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. "I look forward to more ferry landings in the future along the East River in Long Island City that make transportation between each borough faster and safer."

"NYC Ferry will launch May 1, 2017 from the Rockaways," said State Senator James Sanders Jr. "This gives Rockaway residents better access to economic opportunities and opens up a more convenient way for visitors to access the beaches this season. Thanks to NYCEDC for responding to the community and adjusting departure times as well as the additional parking options. I look forward to taking my first historic ride on the NYC Ferry from the Rockaways."

"This ferry has been planned and imagined for years. The commute from the Peninsula to Manhattan is double what it was in the 50s. But after May 1st, we'll once again have an affordable, quick way to commute, to travel, to go out on the town and to bring other New Yorkers here to see everything we have to offer. This is a great day for the Rockaway Peninsula and for New York. I look forward to riding the new Ferry often. This will be a link to the rest of New York worthy of everything the Rockaway Peninsula has become," said Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer-Amato.

"In 2005 Congress secured a federal earmark of $15 million for a permanent ferry infrastructure in the Rockaways, with additional City funds bringing it to just over $18 million of investment on the peninsula's waterfront," said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks. "I would like to thank the de Blasio Administration, our local elected official and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for their support, ongoing efforts and leadership to bring the NYC Ferry to fruition in the Rockaways. Transportation is a key to social mobility and economic growth and I look forward to opportunities the ferry service will bring to the Rockaways."

"As Co-Chairs of Community Board 14 Transportation Committee, we are very pleased and excited that the Rockaway Ferry Service will be starting ahead of schedule," said Danny Ruscillo and Marty Ingram, Co-Chairs of the CB 14 Transportation Committee. "This is a form of transportation which has always been needed, we are sure many will utilize this delightful form of transportation."

"Our community is very appreciative of the efforts of Mayor de Blasio and the EDC in bringing ferry service to the Rockaways. We have always felt that our waterways were an untapped resource for transportation in New York City. In particular we are grateful that our concerns were heard and the first ferry will depart Rockaway at 5:30 a.m. enabling our trades workers and city employees to arrive in Manhattan for their 7:00am shifts. The ferry beginning on May 1st, a month earlier than scheduled, will give all New Yorkers the opportunity to experience the new ferry service," said Dolores Orr, Chair of Community Board 14

Construction is currently underway on a homeport at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 56,000-square-foot maintenance and storage facility that will include berthing space for 25 boats, supplies and parts, and utilities, including a 40,000-gallon diesel fueling system. It will provide routine maintenance including exterior and interior cleaning, restocking of food and beverage items, fueling and basic repairs. It will be fully outfitted by early 2018, enabling passenger service to an additional stop on the East River route between South Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

NYC Ferry is hiring for jobs that include captains and deckhands. Jobseekers can apply through the City Department of Small Business Services' WorkForce1 Centers, or at ferry.nyc, or through the Brooklyn Navy Yard's Employment Center. NYC Ferry will ultimately provide 200 jobs, all of which will pay the City's Living Wage or higher and provide comprehensive benefits.

More Details on NYC Ferry Service

Routes:

  • Rockaway, South Brooklyn and Astoria routes are scheduled to launch in 2017.
  • Rockaway route will connect to the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Wall Street.
  • South Brooklyn route will connect Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1 and Pier 6, and Wall Street, with an optional link to Governors Island.
  • Astoria route will connect to Astoria, Roosevelt Island (Cornell Tech), Long Island City, East 34th Street and Wall Street.
  • Soundview and Lower East Side routes to launch in 2018.
  • Routes from Coney Island and Stapleton on Staten Island are in the planning stages for future expansion.
  • Combined routes will cover over 60 miles of waterway.

Commuting Times:

  • Rockaway to Wall Street (1 stop): Approximately 1 hour
  • Astoria to E 34th Street (2 stops): Approximately 22 minutes
  • Astoria to Wall Street (3 stops): Approximately 38 minutes
  • Soundview to Wall Street (2 stops): Approximately 43 minutes
  • Bay Ridge to Wall Street (4 stops): Approximately 48 minutes

Pricing:

  • Cost per ride will equal that of a single subway ride.
  • Over 4,000 daily East River Ferry customers will see fares reduced from $4 to the cost of a single subway ride.
  • Fare will allow for free transfers to any other ferry route within the system, including the East River Ferry.
  • Both paper and smartphone ticketing will be available, with payments accepted via cash, credit, or debit card. Discounts will be available for seniors, children and New Yorkers with disabilities.
  • Passengers will be allowed to bring bicycles on board for a $1 fee.

The Boats:

  • Each boat will be able to carry 150 passengers.
  • All boats will be equipped with WiFi.
  • Boats will be fully accessible to New Yorkers with disabilities, and will comply with the requirements of both the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York City Local Law 68 of 2005.
  • New boats will be equipped with the most modern engine design available to reduce emissions and noise, as well as an efficient hull design that will limit wakes and maximize fuel economy.

City Support:

  • The city is investing $55 million in infrastructure upgrades, including building 10 new ferry landings.
  • The city is providing $30 million in operating support per year, over a period of six years. Based on a projection of 4.6 million annual trips, the per-trip subsidy for NYC Ferry will be $6.60, lower than the nearly $8 per trip subsidy on the Long Island Railroad or the nearly $15 per trip subsidy for express buses. The city is providing $10 million for additional startup costs, such as vessel upgrades and ticketing machines.
  • City negotiated an option to acquire ferry vessels, allowing for greater operational flexibility and providing significant savings to taxpayers over the life of the service (roughly up to $5 million per year).
  • City will receive a portion of fare-box revenue if ridership exceeds 5.6 million passengers.
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