Mayor Bloomberg Announces Extension Of Rockaway Ferry Service Through Labor Day

July 2, 2013

Weekday Service Will Continue to Assist Rockaway Residents Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky today announced that weekday ferry service between the Rockaways and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan that began in November will continue to operate on its current schedule through Labor Day. Ferries will continue to depart from Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive, where the New York City Economic Development Corporation has installed a temporary landing, and stop at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan with free transfers between Pier 11 and East 34th Street in Midtown. The service will continue to start at 5:45 AM in the Rockaways with ferries departing for Manhattan regularly until 9:20 AM, with regular service resuming during the evening rush. One-way fares will remain $2.00. The Rockaway ferry service has allowed for more than 90,000 passenger trips since its initial launch in November, and since the extension of the weekday ferry service in May, the average daily ridership is approximately 700 passenger trips.

"Ridership numbers show that this new ferry service is an important transportation option for Rockaway residents," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The continuation service, along with the additional weekend service we have also added, will allow the Rockaways to keep rebounding from Sandy."

"Extending the weekday ferry service is another example of the Bloomberg Administration's commitment to helping the Rockaways recover from Sandy," said Deputy Mayor Steel. "In addition to working directly with local businesses, we've devoted resources to creating new transportation options that will give those businesses customers – and make life easier for Rockaway residents."

"We are pleased that the Rockaway ferry service will operate throughout the summer, and that it will continue to help spur the recovery of an area that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy," said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. "The weekday ferry service, along with enhanced summer weekend service beginning this week, not only provides a convenient transportation option for local residents commuting to their jobs, but will also bring more visitors to the Rockaways during the important beach season, generating critical economic activity for the area."

"Extending the Rockaway Ferry Service is another small but important measure the city is taking to help ease the recovery process for New Yorkers hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy," said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "The ferry's success again illustrates the demand for this alternate form of transportation and marks another step in the right direction toward our goal of five-borough ferry service. I look forward to continue working with the Administration to help neighborhoods recover from Sandy and improve our city's economy."

"Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Steel for continuing ferry service to and from the Rockaways," said Council Member Eric Ulrich. "Thanks to the strong demand, high ridership and local support, fast, reliable and convenient transportation is here to stay."

"As a member of the Waterfronts Committee and as a representative of the Rockaways, I am very excited about the Rockaway ferry service being extended until Labor Day," said Council Member Donovan Richards. "I commend the city on the decision. However, the high traffic of daily riders comes as no surprise to me. I know that Southeast Queens and especially the Rockaways as a whole, is underserved when it comes to public transit. This is why I have been fighting not only for the continuation of the ferry, but also for additional stops. I believe that we can increase ridership even further and show that the Rockaway ferry should no longer be thought of as temporary."

"Today's announcement is another shot in the arm that will help to continue the post-Sandy recovery in Rockaway, said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. "The number of riders bears out the need for the ferry service. This travel option has a low fare and a high attraction for peninsula commuters, while it lowers pollutants from vehicles and provides a pleasant and comfortable ride, especially during the hot summer months of July and August. I am grateful to the Bloomberg Administration and Speaker Quinn and look forward to working with them as Rockaway continues to rebound."

"The ferry service between Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive on the Rockaway Peninsula and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the viability of making greater use of the City's waterways for public transportation, "said Congressman Gregory Meeks. "This is why I am sure Rockaway residents and people from all over the city will be delighted to hear that weekday ferry service will continue to operate on its current schedule through Labor Day weekend. They will also have access to enhanced Saturday and Sunday service, starting July 4th through Labor Day. New Yorkers from the other boroughs and beyond can hop on the ferry and come to the Rockaway Peninsula to enjoy its great beaches all summer long. "

"The Rockaway Ferry continuing its operation through Labor Day weekend is critical in addressing transportation needs and an integral piece of the rebuilding and revitalization puzzle," said State Senator James Sanders. "It's a valuable tool for getting hard working people to their destinations, including their places of employment. This is a good step forward, but lets stay mindful of the ever present challenge of transportation in the Rockaways. I commend Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Steel, and New York City Economic Development Corporation President, Seth Pinsky, in continuing to operate this invaluable transportation option."

"I commend the city for extending this vital means of transportation for our communities struggling to recover 8 months after Sandy, however our work is not done until the Rockaway ferry service is made permanent," said Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder. "The ferry is not only a smart and efficient means of travel, but it will continue to provide much needed transportation options and assistance to help our communities recover after Sandy.

"I am thrilled to know that despite the tragedy caused by Super Storm Sandy, the ridership on the Rockaway Ferry Service has continued to prosper," said Council Member Peter Koo, Chair of the Council Committee on Waterfronts. The extension of the Rockaway Ferry Service through Labor Day further demonstrates the resiliency of New Yorkers in times of turmoil. This ferry service will provide not only an easier commute, but also an economic boost to an area of New York City that has been hurting since Super Storm handy hit our shores. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn and Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky for their leadership and vision to use our waterfronts as viable transportation options for New Yorkers."

"The Rockaways was hit hard by Sandy and it needs all the help it can get to get back on track," said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the Council Committee on Transportation. "The continuation and expansion of the ferry service will provide much-needed relief for residents and small business owners who are hard at work in rebuilding a stronger Rockaway. I applaud the administration for making use of our waterways to facilitate what I'm sure will be very well received by the community."

"The extension of ferry services through the labor day weekend is clear evidence of the strong recovery and economic growth in the area devastated by the storm," said Council Member Karen Koslowitz, Chair of the Council Committee on Economic Development. "This is very encouraging news that will capitalize on the stream of new visitors and tourists expected from the summer seasons. I applaud the Administration for the extension which will continue to generate much needed economic activity in the region."

In May, Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and NYCEDC President Pinsky announced the continuation of Rockaway Ferry service due to strong demand since its initial launch in the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy. At the time of the May extension, it was determined that weekday service would continue for at least six additional weeks, with the potential to continue the service through Labor Day weekend if ridership remained strong. Due to the met demand, the weekday ferry will run through the rest of the summer, and will continue to be operated by Seastreak which has operated the service since its launch last November. The ferry will run on the same schedule during morning and evening rush hours.

It was also announced in May that in addition to extended weekday service, beginning July 4th, enhanced weekend service will launch between the Rockaways and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan every Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day. The enhanced weekend service will be operated by TWFM Ferry Inc., building upon their existing summer weekend service which has run between Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan for the past several summers. The weekend beach service fare is $30 roundtrip for adults, or $26 if transferring from the East River Ferry at Pier 11. A full list of schedules and fares can be found at: www.newyorkbeachferry.com

The City has agreed to assist in the expansion of this service by subsidizing an additional boat, which will allow for three morning runs from Manhattan to the Rockaways, as well as three return runs in the evenings. In addition, all weekend runs will now also stop at Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive. Weekend service may be increased or reduced based on ridership demand.

Marc La Vorgna/Julie Wood

(212) 788-2958
Patrick Muncie (NYCEDC)

(212) 312-3523