Wednesday, March 2, 2011


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?



Cheap ferries said...

Its really bad, that the ferries service is continuously failing, but waterways are very convenient compare to others. Let's hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

Without the taxpayer subsidizing these water taxis, they are really dead in the water.
Just as the others failed , this boondoggle of a venture will meet the same demise.

Anonymous said...

They should put a ferry from Flushing to midtown. Relieve some of that congestion on that 3rd world purple train.

Anonymous said...

$5 bucks is just too much for any ferry ride, so I guess these are again doomed to fail. Outside of service to and from lower Manhattan (where the jobs are within one block of the docks!), the market has shown there is no market for ferry service.

Meli said...

Oh, man. I agree it's sad that the ferry service is continuously failing, especially since it could potentially be a great way to get to the city.

But traveling to get to the actual ferry seems like a hassle.

Anonymous said...

They should put a ferry from Flushing to midtown. Relieve some of that congestion on that 3rd world purple train.

They stopped ferry service during the Civil War because the tides at the Hell Gate and ice in the winter made it unprofitable.

That is why they built the Long Island Railroad.

Anonymous said...

The city should increase its support for basic physics research, the next transportation innovation should be Star Trek's transporters.

Anonymous said...

More funneling of OUR taxes to placate the rich neighborhoods populated by out of town NON-New Yorkers who moneylaunder their businessES OFF THE BOOKS and DON'T PAY TAX.



Anonymous said...

Can't tax the rich to death, Monkey Boy. They'll pack up and leave, right? Then who will fund your welfare state?

Engineer Scott said...

Anon No. 7: It's the Dilithium Crystals!!!! They cost too much.

Anonymous said...

Crappie, great site but sometimes you miss the first articles on something. The ferrys were already in a paper here.

Queens Crapper said...

Can you please stop posting your links to the Queens Chronicle? I have featured these stories previously.

They still kiss the asses of politicians whenever they can, print press releases as if they were news and write editorials mostly in favor of city-backed development projects. And those are my main objections to their coverage.

Anonymous said...

OK, crappie, i just like the freshest stuff, you know. i read them alll.

Anonymous said...

ferries are just another stupid waste. train beats ferry and car beats bicycle.

Anonymous said...

Asshole, the rich don't pay their fare share of tax, the middle and lower classes make up for their crimes. Get your facts straight and GO BACK TO CONNECTICUT.

Anonymous said...

Can't tax the rich to death, Monkey Boy.

How can a white woman POSSIBLY be an African-American boy?

Anonymous said...

Flushing could use a Wall St Ferry, too.

Anonymous said...

I live on East 79th Street. I wanted to go to East 90th street and go to the World Financial Center. I would pay $20.00 per person.

I think we need to get NYC out of the business and give the route to private industry.

The issues are the unions that control ferry services and the companies who don't want others in the business.

New York City could have the best water taxi service in the U.S. if you just got rid of the government, unions and corruption now controlling the market.

So tell me... This is NYC... We'll never get rid of the waste, corruption, socialized government or criminal unions.

Guess NYC will NEVER have a real water taxi services.

Just like Cable TV, Verizon and Time Warner and CableVision. NYC has the worst communication systems in the world. Why? Government Corruption, waste, fraud, unions.

New York Roads the worst in the u.s. yet we pay more than any other state. Why? Corrupt government, unions, fraud, waste.

Water Taxi???? Not in YOUR lifetime. Communist Commander Bloomberg and the Communist City Council does not want you to have it.