Providing Service to an Astoria Transportation Desert
Mayor Eric Adams has announced his “NYC Ferry Forward Plan,” an attempt to make the city ferry system cheaper for low-income New Yorkers and more expensive for casual riders or tourists.
The announcement, which comes following an audit on the ferry system for exceeding the budget expectations — took place at Astoria Landing, next to the NYCHA Astoria Housing housing on Thursday, July 14.
“This is a transportation desert, and although we have a waterway here, we did not have real access to moving about,” Adams said. “We had to figure that out. These residents deserved a way to get to work, play recreation, and really just be invited to other parts of the city.”
Beginning on September 12, lower-income New Yorkers in the MTA Fair Fares program, seniors, and those who have a disability under the New York City Ferry Discount Program can ride the ferry for $1.35. People can apply to be part of the New York City Ferry Discount Program online or by mail, and they will then buy tickets on the New York City Fair app or in-person at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. Those who live in NYCHA households within a mile of the ferry’s landing will receive two free rides so residents can see the appeal and promote the convenience of the ferry system.
For “frequent flyers of families,” a 10-pack of rides can be purchased for $27.50, which will average to $2.75 — the current price of a subway ride.
For all other people interested in taking the ferry, the cost of a single trip will increase to $4, to “offset the cost of those who are everyday New Yorkers that need to use the program,” Adams stated. However, in light of the recent ferry audit that discovered how the previous administration downplayed the cost of the ferry service, the increase may very well likely be an effort to keep the program on an even keel.
Adams also introduced a direct-to-beach service to the Rockaways called the “Rockaway Rocket.” This service starts Saturday, July 23, and requires seats to be booked in advance for a direct service from Pier 11 to the Rockaways. The ferry will operate on summer weekends and on holidays until September 11 — the end of the summer schedule — and will cost $8 in each direction.
New York is what it is because of the East River, the Hudson River, all the waterways,” said Adams. “It is what makes this city special, access to the city through our waterways. More and more New Yorkers are using the New York City Ferry, but too many are not aware of the great benefits from it. They think it’s out of reach and they think that it’s not something that they can utilize.”
Among other elected officials and community leaders joining Adams included Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., Maria Torres-Springer, the deputy mayor for economic and workforce development, and Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of NYC Economic Development Corporation.
Our fleet of vessels, you see right behind me, were built at a lower cost than any other publicly procured ferry fleet in the country over the last 15 years,” Kimball said. “That’s astonishing and a true testament to the public/private partnership we have with our operator.”
More information on the NYC Ferry Forward Plan can be found at www1.nyc.gov.