With New York City’s subway trains jammed to capacity and more people than ever pouring into neighborhoods outside Manhattan, Mayor Bill de Blasio is embarking on an ambitious and expensive plan to create a fleet of city-owned ferryboats that would crisscross the surrounding waterways and connect all five boroughs.
At a cost of more than $325 million, Mr. de Blasio’s expansion of ferry service would be one of the biggest bets any city in the world has made on boats as vehicles for mass transit. The mayor predicts that the ferries would carry 4.5 million passengers a year, about twice as many riders as San Francisco’s ferry system handles.
Mr. de Blasio has promised New Yorkers that ferries will start running on three new routes, serving South Brooklyn, and Astoria and the Rockaways in Queens, by the end of June 2017, four months before he would stand for re-election. Additional routes to the Lower East Side of Manhattan and to Soundview in the Bronx will be added in 2018.
“Our aim is to make this thing as big as possible,” said Alicia Glen, the city’s deputy mayor for housing and economic development. “No guts, no glory.”
“We’re still living with the footprint of an early-19th-century transit map that didn’t contemplate the kind of job growth we’re seeing along the waterfront,” Ms. Glen said. The administration, she said, is trying to create a transportation network for “the new New York.”
Job growth along the waterfront? All I see there are giant residential towers filled with yuppies. That's who this is really for. Everyone else will have to do train-ferry-bus or some combination like that, which is impractical.