Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday the Rockaway ferry, filling in for the hurricane-damaged transit system, will operate for at least six more weeks and possibly through Labor Day.
The mayor also said July 4 would bring announced increased weekend ferry service between the Rockaways and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan.
“The continuation of the weekday service will give Rockaways residents another transportation option and the expanded summer weekend service will make it easier for visitors to get to the Rockaways, bringing additional economic activity to the beaches throughout the summer season,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor said whether the ferry operates after six weeks depends on the number of people who use it.
The ferry has been operating as an alternative to subway service disrupted by Hurricane Sandy more than six months ago, when the A train was closed down between Howard Beach and the Rockaways. The A train will begin running again to the peninsula this Thursday.
Greater weekend service between the Rockaways and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan will provide the addition of one service run in each direction on Saturday and Sunday. Weekend ferry runs now also stop at Beach 108th Street.
The weekday ferry is run by Seastreak, which has operated the service since immediately after Hurricane Sandy struck, and will run on the same schedule during morning and evening rush hours. One-way fares are $2.
The enhanced weekend service will be operated by TWMF Ferry Inc. on a route between Jacob Riis Park and Pier 11 in Manhattan. The city has agreed to subsidize the service, providing three morning runs from Manhattan to the Rockaways as well as three return runs in the evenings.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) hailed the increase in service.
“For the past six months, the ferry has been a vital lifeline for many of my constituents. It has provided a fast and reliable commute for Rockaways residents during their greatest time of need,” Ulrich said.
“This is welcomed news for residents and businesses of the Rockaway Peninsula,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “Not only will it bring much-needed transportation relief to its residents, who have endured and persevered since Hurricane Sandy, it will bring visitors to discover and patronize local businesses while enjoying sun and surf along our beaches.”
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledge
©2013 Community News Group
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