Big losses, weak oversight: Lander slams NYC Ferry in new report

July 7, 2022 Editorial Staff
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Residents Also Report Huge Waiting Lines

Channeling poet Walt Whitman’s descriptions of New York ferries, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander gave a dramatic press conference to blast the subsi- dized system’s failure to report huge losses — underreported subsidies of a quarter of a billion dollars.

This announcement follows on the heels of mounting complaints by Brooklyn ferry riders. Long lines and wait times that often exceed an hour have been reported by commuters who travel daily along the Brooklyn waterfront.

One Brooklyn Heights resident told the Eagle, “I learned never to travel by ferry on a hol- iday. I waited more than two hours on Memorial Day and ended up having to take a bus home from Williamsburg. I had already paid for my ferry ticket, as did the other 400 or so people who could not get onto the crowded ferry after ferry. The ticket is only good for one day, so we all wasted our money.”

Comptroller Lander’s audit alleged that the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) underreported nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in NYC Ferry expenditures during former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Administration.

EDC incurred a total of $758 million in total ferry- related expenditures from July 1, 2015 through De- cember 31, 2021, yet only reported $534 million as ferry-related expenses in its audited financial statements and other records, according to Lander. The total city subsidy per ride is nearly double the original estimate of $6.60 and has been consistently underreported.

As of now, NYC Ferry, which is administered by EDC but operated by San Francisco-based Hornblower Cruises, has several routes that include Brooklyn: the Astoria route, which stops at the Brooklyn Navy

Yard; the East River route, with several Brooklyn stops between DUMBO and Greenpoint; the South Brooklyn route, with several Brooklyn stops between DUMBO and Bay Ridge; and the Rockaway route, which stops at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

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