East River ferry service to Queens deemed success after six-month test

A ferry passes beneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
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A group of elected officials and transportation executives have proclaimed the first six months of a trial project providing East River ferry service to Long Island City, Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan a success — far exceeding expectations.

“The fact that East River ferry ridership is shattering projections in only six months is proof that consumers and tourists alike are discovering both the beauty and convenience of traveling borough to borough on the East River by ferry,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan).

Borough President Helen Marshall said “our rivers and ferries provide an attractive alternative for commuting that helps communities like Long Island City and others to grow.”

“Easy Access, affordability and reliability are keys to successful ferries and subsidies help keep fares down. I applaud the operation of this ferry since service began in June and look forward to its continued success,” Marshall continued.

The officials, as well as Paul Goodman, CEO of Billybey Ferry Co., which runs the East River ferries for NY Waterway, congregated last Thursday at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan to observe the six-month milestone of the service with a day of free service on the ferry routes.

Officials said nearly 500,000 passengers had ridden the ferries in the first six months, far more than had been projected.

“The ferry has served as a vehicle to link together the communities along the city’s waterfront,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “The success of the ferry service to date denotes that when provided a variety of transportation options, New Yorkers avail themselves of such opportunities in great numbers.”

Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), chairman of the Council Transportation Committee, said, “I think people often forget that New York is a city of islands. I look forward to working with Speaker Quinn and Economic Development Commission President Seth Pinsky on the next phase of the program.”

The ferry service was launched June 13 as part of a three-year pilot program to provide year-round ferry service from East 34th Street and Pier 11 in Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens; Greenpoint, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg and DUMBO in Brooklyn; and, seasonally, to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and Governors Island.

The service costs $4 for a one-way ticket, $12 for an unlimited, all-day pass and $140 for an unlimited monthly pass. Ferries accept bicycles onboard for an additional dollar. Ticket machines are available at all commuter locations along with staffed ticket agents at some stops.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or phone at 718-260-4536.

Posted 3:03 am, December 22, 2011
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Reader feedback

Matt Swaye from Sean Bell says:
Is Christine Quinn really ready to lose the mayor’s office for her support of racism, second-class citizenship, and mass incarceration?


Dec. 25, 2011, 9:42 am

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