Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rockaway ferry service is kaput

From the NY Times:

Commuter ferry boats. Everybody likes them, but nobody wants to pay for them.

That oft-learned lesson is about to be repeated in the Rockaways. Daily ferry service between Riis Landing at Breezy Point in Queens and Pier 11 near Wall Street is scheduled to end in mid-March, less than two years after it was launched with fanfare from elected officials and a $1.8 million subsidy from the City Council.

The boat ride has been a great deal for the riders, who pay just $6 each way for the one-hour voyage. But even on the sunniest summer days, the average number of passenger trips was only about 280, said David Lombino, a spokesman for the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which hired New York Water Taxi to operate the service.

With so few passengers, the city’s subsidy amounted to more than $25 per ticket, Mr. Lombino said. The money simply ran out too fast, he said.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

WE TOLD YOU SO ANTHONY WEINER!!!

stinky said...

It's amazing that the economics and water routes cannot be made to work for certain areas. If they know this in advance, why bother to tease the public with a service that ends after a year or two? $6 bucks one way to me is expensive although in certain areas it's a bargain because of the time it saves. Still 12.00 round trip each day?

Anonymous said...

Stinky it wasn't a tease it was a Mayor Bloomberg concession to get outer-borough sponsorship for congestions tax. Mayor Bloomberg did not take $15 million of fed money towards purchase of ferries because he wanted the flexibility to cancel ferry if they did not pan out.

As a Rockaway resident - I would love to see a ferry to Coney Island that would connect to the subway (perhaps by the aquarium) - many of us drive over to Brooklyn, park and get on the subway. The ferry schedule was inconvenient, infrequent and put us in lower manhattan. As an aside, The summer weekend ferry from Manhattan seemed to be a hit with the Manhattanites and had almost double the local ridership - perhaps a season ferry might make sense.

EG said...

Had this ferry been in a more populated area in Rockawway, it would have done better. The ferry landing is in the middle of nowhere. If you didn't drive, you had to take a bus to get to this thing, might as well just take the train. It's all about location.

Anonymous said...

The Vallones, those legendary champions of community preservation and development (they can say that in the same breath and be serious in Astoria) state to the community board and press that 50,000 new people served by one road on the Astoria Penesula can be handled by ferries.

You see, if you have critical mass and don't give people an alternative, like North Korea and Astoria, little dictators who are "Heros of the People" can get elected over and over again by overwhelming majorities.

That is the public's reward for good government.

Joe said...

Look at what the old wide hull fishing junker they are using for a boat.
It must twin engine and burn 4 gallons per mile Diesel.

That's around $400 each way in fuel alone. They need a CAT for this distance

Anonymous said...

If a private company can't make a buck on this route, there's no reason for the government to subsidize it. It was all a waste of taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

The location of the ferry, at the tip of Rockaway peninsula, served very few people.

Had the ferry pier been at Beach 116th, where several bus lines converge, it would have been more successful.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous Rockaway resident - What makes you think we want ferry service in Coney Island? The politicians talk about ferries to Manhattan all the time, but only to give tourists a way to avoid the poor local slobs who travel by subway. We can't afford to travel to NYC by ferry, we're lucky we can afford a Metrocard. And I'm sure that there are not enough Rockaway riders who want to use the subway in Brooklyn to justify subsidies. Maybe you should ask for more/better express bus service instead.

Anonymous said...

$6 is a STEAL for a ride of that length. Yes, it may sound expensive, but if you consider it's $10 for hop on/hop off service in and immediately around Manhattan, this highly subsidized ride was a massive waste of tax dollars from day 1.

And by the way, ferry service is never planned only to serve tourists. The ferry operators know they're out of business without a sizable daily commuter base (or some city/state/federal subsidies).

Anonymous said...

Honestly, Coney Island you are probably right we should just go back to lobbying to lower the Marine Parkway Toll and organizing our own car pools as we always have.

Express van to the junction might also make sense, as long as we can still park at the old Coast Guard station for the inevitable slow bus home when one stays late at work.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, Coney Island you are probably right we should just go back to lobbying to lower the Marine Parkway Toll and organizing our own car pools as we always have.

Express van to the junction might also make sense, as long as we can still park at the old Coast Guard station for the inevitable slow bus home when one stays late at work.

stinky said...

The Rockaways is a jewel that has never been treated as such. Having the tolls for Broad Channel and Marine Park Bridges makes no sense to encourage stabilization of good aspects of Rockaway.Perhaps the ferry should only be run during the summer season if that's when it is profitable - so be it - less folks in cars clogging the roadways to the beach. As previously suggested, perhaps a frequent short express bus route can be created to transfer to main subway junctions in Jamaica or Coney Island. The fare could be regular 2.25 with transfers.

Everyone want to fix Rockaway by private over development, throwing projects up, considering casinos etc. All these things are what killed Rockaway, including an undermanned Police and Fire force, crime on the beaches in the Summer and poor transportation and few stores to serve the neighborhoods that remain viable.

Theodoric said...

Passenger conveyance, particularly commuter conveyance, almost never breaks even, much less turns a profit. Certainly some profit is possible in niche markets with select customers...and even that service would be limited.

The railroads went bankrupt on it, airlines are hit and miss propositions, find a major transit system not cutting service or laying off, even auto companies are broke.

I wouldn't sell my car just yet.

Its a good time to pick up some ancient shit box car for commuting.

Anonymous said...

The Rockaways were never really suitable for year-round residency because it is a narrow strip of land between the bay and the sea. One good hurricane and it's Katrina, the sequel.

If it was up to me, they would keep the beaches immaculate. Plant cover for the dunes, add hotels, restaurants and parking and treat it like Miami Beach.

Anonymous said...

Rockaway Ferry lives again if only for a few more months. City extended service until July 1, 2010 - cut service in half, reduced payments to operator.