Can NYC Ferry Rid­ers Can Ex­pect A Vast Im­prove­ment in Ser­vice??

The Jewish Voice - - NEW YORK - By Sam Stein

On Thurs­day, May 3, Mayor Bill de Bla­sio an­nounced that NYC Ferry's rid­er­ship could grow to as many as 9 mil­lion an­nual pas­sen­gers by 2023, twice as many pas­sen­gers as ini­tially pro­jected, and that the City will in­vest in a big­ger ferry fleet to meet that de­mand. The Ex­ec­u­tive Bud­get in­cludes $300 mil­lion in new cap­i­tal over the next sev­eral years for new 350-pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity fer­ries, im­prove- ments to piers and docks, and a sec­ond home­port where fer­ries will be main­tained and re­paired. The Mayor made the an­nounce­ment in Bay Ridge, where new ferry ser­vice launched last year.

“New York­ers have spo­ken. We're go­ing to need big­ger boats,” said Mayor de Bla­sio. “We're gear­ing up to meet the ex­tra­or­di­nary de­mand for more pub­lic tran­sit on our wa­ter­ways.”

NYC Ferry launched on May 1, 2017. Orig­i­nal pro­jec­tions pre­dicted 4.6 mil­lion rid­ers once all six routes are op­er­a­tional and fully rolled-out. How­ever, NYC Ferry car­ried 3.7 mil­lion pas­sen­gers in its first year, with only four routes op­er­at­ing—and only two of them run­ning for the en­tire 12 months. Up­dated pro­jec­tions based on the first year of ser­vice now show that de­mand could reach as high as 9 mil­lion rid­ers per year by 2023.

The fi­nal two routes of the first phase of ferry ser­vice – Sound­view and the Lower East Side – are ex­pected to be­gin op­er­at­ing in late sum­mer 2018. They join the four ex­ist­ing routes: East River, Rock­away, South Brook­lyn and As­to­ria. The City's Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion will study po­ten­tial route ex­pan­sions later this year.

The City is prepar­ing to in­vest $300 mil­lion in cap­i­tal over the next five years, in­clud­ing $35 mil­lion in Fis­cal Year 2019. Those in­vest­ments will in­clude: In­creas­ing ca­pac­ity by ex­pand­ing ferry fleet, nearly dou­bling its size; a sec­ond home­port fa­cil­ity to house and main­tain the ex­panded fleet, in ad­di­tion to the first home­port at the Brook­lyn Navy Yard near­ing com­ple­tion; in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments and up­grades to ex­ist­ing NYC Ferry barges and land­ings to ac­com­mo­date larger crowds; im­prove­ments to the City's two main ferry ter­mi­nals, Pier 11/ Wall Street and E 34th Street, which see the high­est traf­fic on a daily ba­sis. These in­clude wider gang­ways and new bow-load­ing lo­ca­tions to in­crease the num­ber of ves­sels that can dock si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

Prepa­ra­tions for a busy spring and sum­mer are in full swing. To meet the ex­pected surge in de­mand, NYC Ferry will: De­ploy 3 brand new 350-passen-

ger ca­pac­ity NYC Ferry boats by later this sum­mer to ser­vice the busiest routes; de­ploy up to 8 char­ter ves­sels this sum­mer, each with ca­pac­ity be­tween 250-500 pas­sen­gers; be­gin­ning Memo­rial Day Week­end, Gover­nors Is­land will now be the last stop on the East River and South Brook­lyn routes, in­creas­ing ser­vice to the pop­u­lar sum­mer des­ti­na­tion; in­crease ser­vice fre­quency with boats ar­riv­ing ev­ery 20-30 min­utes on week­days and week­ends on all four routes, com­pared to 25-60 head­ways for the same ser­vice last sum­mer; launch a new ex­press ser­vice on the Rock­away route to and from Pier 11/Wall Street dur­ing week­day rush hour and on week­ends, dou­bling ca­pac­ity dur­ing these busiest times; in­crease ser­vice from Brook­lyn Army Ter­mi­nal by 20 per­cent on the Rock­away route; in­crease staffing at ferry land­ings to as­sist rid­ers with queu­ing and board­ing.

Since its launch one year ago, NYC Ferry has al­ready em­ployed over 250 peo­ple and is cur­rently hir­ing for 75+ new po­si­tions, in­clud­ing cap­tains, deck­hands, cus­tomer ser­vice agents, tick­et­ing, op­er­a­tions and more. New York­ers of all back­grounds and skill lev­els are wel­come to ap­ply di­rectly at ferry. nyc.

When NYC Ferry launched in May 2017, orig­i­nal pro­jec­tions an­tic­i­pated 4.6 mil­lion rid­ers on all six routes, up­dated pro­jec­tions now place de­mand at 9 mil­lion rid­ers a year by 2023. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

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