Bay Ridge

NYC moves forward with citywide ferry service plans

Agency issues RFP to service operators

April 1, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In this Feb. 5 photo, the Manhattan skyline is visible in the background as commuters ride a ferry to Red Hook. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has moved a step closer to bring ferry service to some of New York City's waterfront neighborhoods. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The de Blasio administration has moved a step closer to instituting a citywide ferry service that would include stops in Bay Ridge and Sunset Park. On Monday, The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to ferry operators for a citywide service.

The citywide ferry system, which Mayor Bill de Blasio discussed in his State of the City Address earlier this year, will launch in 2017. The service will knit together existing East River routes with new landings across the city. An East River ferry service has been running since 2011. To date, over 4.3 million passengers have taken trips on the East River Ferry, according to administration officials.

The new ferry service that will be instituted in 2017 will be expanded in 2018 after a $55 million capital investment for infrastructure upgrades.

Ticket prices will be set at $2.75 per ride, the same price as a bus or subway ride. 

The RFP seeks to identify an operator to provide system-wide or individual route service, running seven days a week. Astoria, the Rockaways, South Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and Soundview are among the planned ferry stops.

Following the rollout of service in 2017 and 2018, the city will look at establishing other routes, including Coney Island and Stapleton, Staten Island.

“This service will not only provide a resilient transportation option to people across the city, but it will also connect more New Yorkers to our waterfront, driving the creation of jobs and housing by linking our city’s emerging innovation centers. I look forward to a robust response to this RFP, and am excited by the opportunity this ferry system provides the city,” EDC President Kyle Kimball said in a statement.

Brooklyn officials said they’re excited about the prospect of a citywide ferry service because the plans include ferry stops in neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, and Red Hook.

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“Brooklynites are excited for our ferry landings to double in two years, bringing service to transit-starved communities like Bay Ridge, the Columbia Street Waterfront, Red Hook, and Sunset Park,” Borough President Eric Adams said. “Everyone wins when we connect our sixth borough, the city’s waterways, to the other five.”

City Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) called the RFP “the exciting first step towards Bay Ridge once again having its own ferry.”

Bay Ridge had a Brooklyn-to-Wall Street ferry service for a few years back in the early 1990s, but the service was eventually terminated. At that time, the ferry landing was located at the 69th Street pier. The new citywide ferry service will also include a ferry landing at the 69th Street pier, according to local officials.

“Bringing back the Bay Ridge ferry will be a game-changer for so many people and the ripple effect from this service will be felt throughout the entire city,” Gentile said.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who called the ferry service “a common sense way to provide more transportation opportunities throughout New York City,” said water transportation is also important because it can provide an alternative to riders in the event of a major storm. “Not only will expanded ferry service help make commutes more reliable, ferries are also a key piece of resilient infrastructure because they can begin running immediately after a storm,” he said. 

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