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All Aboard: Mayor de Blasio Launches NYC Ferry

May 1, 2017

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Rockaway and East River Routes Set Sail Today, 1 Month Ahead of Schedule; connecting 3 boroughs by water

NEW YORK—After Mayor de Blasio participated in a ceremonial first ride from the Rockaways to Manhattan Sunday, NYC Ferry’s first two routes, the Rockaway and East River routes, went into service today. The first of six NYC Ferry routes offer direct transit connections between Southern Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan shortening commutes for thousands of New Yorkers.

The Rockaway Route officially launched at 5:30 a.m. It offers service between Beach 108th Street, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and Wall Street’s Pier 11. More information about the route is available here.

The newly-integrated East River Route launched at 6:30 a.m. It offers service between East 34th Street, Hunter’s Point South, Greenpoint, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg, Dumbo, Governor’s Island (in the summers only) and Wall Street’s Pier 11. More information about the route is available here.

June 1, a third route, South Brooklyn Route – which links Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Wall Street – will begin. Astoria service will launch in August, with the exact date still being determined. The final routes, the Lower East Side and Soundview routes, launch in 2018. Detailed timetables, along with a map of all 2017 routes, can be viewed here.

“For the first time in generations, our amazing New York Harbor is part of our city’s critical public transportation system – and for the price of a subway ride you can get to work and also explore New York City’s beautiful coastal communities much more directly. All Aboard! Let’s take a ride!” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“This is a milestone two years in the making. New ferries are crisscrossing out waterways, opening up more opportunity for New Yorkers and businesses. NYC Ferry has officially launched, and we look forward to expanding the system to reach even more neighborhoods,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, Alicia Glen.

“Starting today NYC Ferry is going to transform commutes for thousands of New Yorkers,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James Patchett. “With more people living and working on the waterfront, this is a fast, comfortable, and affordable way to get around the city. We can’t wait for New Yorkers to hop on and see for themselves - it's a great ride.”

“With NYC Ferry, locals can more easily discover new destinations and neighborhoods just beyond the ferry stops, from the Rockaways, to Sunset Park and Wall Street,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, the city’s official destination marketing organization. “We invite New Yorkers to ‘See Your City’ and explore areas across multiple boroughs that are now just a quick boat ride away.”

“This is a monumental day. Whether it’s to go to work, to visit family, or to simply take advantage of all that New York City has to offer, residents can travel to and from the Rockaways with ease, for the same price as a subway token,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks. “Together, with the de Blasio administration, NYCEDC, and local elected officials, we’re working to increase access and improve transportation in our great city.”

“A promise was made to the Rockaways, and the promise was kept –a full month ahead of schedule – thanks to the community’s persistence and the Mayor’s commitment to equitable transit. The inclusion of the Rockaway route in the citywide ferry will help ensure its permanence. The predictability brought by the NYC Ferry will be a boon for Queens tourism and economic development and investment in the Rockaways. It will also provide fast and affordable transportation to tens of thousands of Queens residents, who have long been underserved by traditional mass transit,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“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.”

“More routes, cheaper fares, and faster trips mean a better commute for New Yorkers across the city,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “As a long-time proponent of expanded ferry service across my district, today’s launch is great news. Thank you to the City, EDC, and the entire NYC Ferry team.”

“Affordable ferry service from Red Hook and Sunset Park will make the commute to Manhattan easier and will bring new visitors to our premier Brooklyn communities. I welcome this new and improved ferry service as part of our waterfront rebuilding effort,” said Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.

“This ferry is exactly what we’ve needed to give Rockaway residents something approaching a normal commute. To get the commute in speed and style, a month early?  We’re over the moon,” said Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato. “We're glad the City is finally connecting South Queens to the rest of New York City via a workable commute.  This is a great day and I can’t wait to take the ride with my neighbors!”

“In New York City, where public transportation is vital and you can never have too many options, the early arrival of expanded ferry service is exciting news. It will help commuters get to their destinations quickly, conveniently, and at an affordable price. I am also pleased that the Mayor has kept his promise to bring the ferry back to Far Rockaway, once again linking the peninsula to the rest of the city. This will help reduce commuter travel times and bring more economic opportunities to the area,” State Senator James Sanders said.

“On NYC Ferry, New Yorkers will have an affordable way to get to work, school, and explore the waterfront communities throughout New York City. Starting in June, the South Brooklyn NYC Ferry route will connect Brooklyn Bridge Park with other parts of the city, from Red Hook to Manhattan and Governors Island. Thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio for his leadership on enhancing New York Citys public transportation options,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

“NYC Ferry will provide much needed redundancy in our transportation network, while connecting residents in far-flung communities to more of the city,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Transportation Committee. “I am glad to see the administration focusing on transportation deserts to make sure New Yorkers can get around our city faster.”

“The new routes for NYC Ferry will make transportation easier for large parts of our city,” said Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “I am thrilled to celebrate the new service which will expand transportation options citywide, including new stops in several parts of Queens!” 

“Today's launch begins a new chapter in transportation for the City of New York,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “It is critically important that we develop transit infrastructure across a variety of modes, and our investment in NYC Ferry is a testament to this commitment. This service has the potential to transform commutes for thousands of New Yorkers near our waterfronts, and I look forward to riding the Friendship Express, Waves of Wonder, and especially Lunchbox this summer.”

“Thanks to today’s return of the Citywide Ferry Service to the Rockaway peninsula, residents can rejoice in another transit option to Manhattan,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Bringing this vital service back capitalizes on our beautiful local waterways and will help alleviate the overburdened and inefficient A train. I'd like to thank Mayor de Blasio and the Economic Development Corporation for prioritizing the Rockaways and getting the service up and running a month ahead of schedule. I look forward to continuing to work on ensuring that this service best serves as many residents on the eastern end of the peninsula as possible.”

“Citywide ferry service will transform the way New Yorkers experience transportation and our waterfront neighborhoods. Fares matching MTA rates are a good start and free transfers between the new ferries and MTA subways and buses should be our goal,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “I welcome summer service to Governor's Island and look forward to expanded routes and schedules as our City rediscovers the benefits of a robust passenger ferry system.”

“Our waterways are an asset, and with the launch of NYC Ferry service on the East River Route, we are closer than ever before to utilizing its transit potential for residents, workers and visitors,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “This service not only will cut travel times for commuters, it will allow everyone to experience our waterfront city in a new and exciting way. I thank the Mayor and EDC for rolling out citywide ferry service for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”

‎”Commutes are getting shorter as we reactivate our waterways to get New Yorkers to work faster,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Shorter commute times mean more economic opportunity for more New Yorkers, which in turn means more tax revenue to fund public transportation, a virtuous circle. After fighting for ferry service on Roosevelt Island for so long, it is great to see it happen in our first term of office. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for launching ferry service to use the water that separates the boroughs to connect all New Yorkers.”

“For years, Rockaway residents have had one of the longest commutes into Manhattan. The launch of the new NYC Ferry will cut the travel time for these commuters by about 30 minutes each way, giving the residents of Rockaway more time to spend with their families,” Council Member Eric Ulrich said. “The ferry service will also boost foot traffic and help local businesses by providing New Yorkers a direct route to the Peninsula’s beautiful beaches.  I am happy to be on board with NYC Ferry, which will fill a much-needed void in the Rockaways.”

“In a transit-starved desert like Red Hook, ferry service will make a big difference. We are very excited and eagerly awaiting its arrival. And we’re grateful to the Administration for making it happen,” said Sayar Lonial, Chairperson of Brooklyn Community Board 6.

For those seeking inspiration for their NYC Ferry travels, NYC & Company has listed suggested places to check out by neighborhood at, and encourages those to tag their experiences on social with #seeyourcity.

Sunday, the Mayor joined elected officials and community leaders for a ceremonial first ride and christened a second NYC Ferry boat Urban Journey. The Mayor was joined by ferry advocate Laura Deckelman, the boat’s official godmother. Urban Journey was named by second-grade students at Soundview’s PS 69 Journey Prep School.

The City revealed more names for what will ultimately be 20 new NYC Ferry boats. All the names are proposed by second graders at schools near the ferry system’s 22 landings. The names include Munsee, The Connector, Owl’s Head, Great Eagle, Happy Hauler, McShiney, Opportunity, and Flyer. Previously announced vessel names include Lunchbox, Waves of Wonder, The Friendship Express, and Sunset Crossing.

Once the NYC Ferry system is fully operating in 2018, the combined routes will cover more than 60 miles of waterway at $2.75 per ride, the same cost of a subway ride. Last week, NYCEDC and Hornblower, the company operating NYC Ferry, announced that the cost of a 30-day unlimited ferry pass will be $121, the same as a 30-day MetroCard. This price builds on Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to ensuring that NYC Ferry is affordable to New Yorkers at every income level.

Ferry riders can download the brand new NYC Ferry App to purchase e-tickets, allowing for easy scan-and-go boarding, and get detailed maps and schedules, as well as real-time notifications and service alerts. Use of the app provides for a more environmentally friendly service by reducing the use of paper tickets, although ticketing kiosks will also be available at each landing. The NYC Ferry App is live and available for download in both the Apple and Google Play stores.

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 various jobs, including captains and deckhands. Jobseekers can apply directly through Hornblower’s website, NYC Ferry will ultimately provide 200 jobs, all of which will pay the City’s Living Wage or higher and provide comprehensive benefits.

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