From the Gotham Gazette:
Instead of packing onto crowded, often delayed and inconvenient subways, commuters along the Brooklyn/Queens waterfront will have an alternative way to travel when a new ferry service begins making stops along the East River later this year.
The service is the latest in a long line of attempts to boost commuting by water in New York in an effort to revitalize the waterfront and ease congestion. It comes in the wake of a few successes and many failures. The ferries, which will serve Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO, downtown Brooklyn and East 34th Street, will be operated by BillyBey Ferry Co., which contracts with NY Waterway and whose boats bear the NY Waterway logo.
According to the city Economic Development Corp., the East River ferry system will cost passengers $3 to $5.50, depending on distance. Currently, the city is constructing piers for the new service, and hopes to have them operating by the time boats are ready to take passengers -- probably by June, although no date has been announced. According to development corporation spokesperson Julie Wood, if the new service becomes a success, the city will look to expand ferry service in other places.
The new ferry service comes after years of unsuccessful effort to promote ferries. In the mid-1990s, then Gov. George Pataki and then Mayor Rudy Giuliani asked NY Waterway to provide service between Hunters Point and East 34th Street. The ferries ran between every 15 to 20 minutes, but only carried 135 people per day at its peak. The service was not subsidized by the city and ended in 2001.
In 2002, NY Waterway once again tried to bring ferries to the East Side of Manhattan. The ferry served the 90th Street pier on the Upper East Side, Long Island City, 34th Street and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. Costing only $5 per trip, the ferries operated every 30 minutes during rush hour and had no off-hour service. The second attempt faltered due to low ridership, having only carried 150 people per day. Upper East Side opposition to shuttle bus service NY Waterway provides to its terminals further complicated matters, and low ridership from Long Island City resulted in the service ending once more in 2004.
The administration also has attempted to bring ferry service to other parts of the city. In May 2008, NY Water Taxi offered service from Breezy Point in The Rockaways, to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. Despite having community support, the ferry only served 160 people per day and cost the city $1.5 million in subsidies. The service ended last year 2010.
...the ferries will link up to a free bus service in Midtown as well as to the M34 bus. The ferries also will accommodate bicycles.
Who is going to board a ferry to then have to board a bus to then also probably have to board a train? Why do they think ferry service will have a different result this time? Why are we subsidizing this guaranteed failure?