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The New York City Economic Development Corporation and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today released details of the new, expanded East River ferry service that will launch this spring. Delivering on Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn’s vision for a sustainable City, the service will provide a new transportation option to residents of emerging Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, and will provide a link to some of the City’s most exciting recreation destinations.
The service will operate in both directions and make seven regular stops along the East River, with two additional summer stops:
During summer weekends, additional service will operate from Pier 6 at Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, connecting riders to the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. During the operating season on Governors Island, ferry service will run on Fridays from both Pier 11 and Pier 6, complementing existing service.
“Many of New York City’s fastest growing neighborhoods, like Williamsburg and Long Island City, have tremendous waterfront access, and we want to capitalize on that by providing a new, sustainable transportation option for residents,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “By launching regular ferry service every 20 minutes, with stops in Midtown and Lower Manhattan and summertime stops at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Governors Island, we’ll create a transportation alternative while spurring private investment along the waterfront.”
“East River ferry service is set to make a big splash this spring in our already-burgeoning East River communities and their surrounding neighborhoods,” said Speaker Quinn. “The launch of this much anticipated mass transit option is particularly exciting as we continue to move large infrastructure projects forward in a responsible, efficient and sustainable way.”
“Using the waterway to connect New Yorkers to business districts as well as recreation destinations will encourage economic activity and growth on both sides of the East River,” said NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky. “This robust, regular service will be well-integrated with existing transportation options, providing a new sustainable and enjoyable way for commuters and tourists alike to get around the City.”
“Bravo to Mayor Bloomberg and his staff, Deputy Mayor Steel, Speaker Quinn—you can call her our ‘ferry godmother’—the EDC and everyone who played a role in bringing expanded NY Waterway service to Brooklyn and the outer boroughs of Manhattan and Queens. With stops in our flourishing neighborhoods of Greenpoint, North and South Williamsburg and DUMBO, as well as Pier 6 at Atlantic Avenue in the summer, Brooklyn is ‘ferry’ excited to welcome this new service, which is certain to bring economic development and tourism to our bustling waterfront,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
The service will operate year-round from approximately 7 AM to 8 PM on weekdays and from about 9 AM to 7 PM on weekends. During the weekday peak hours (approximately 7-9:30 AM and 4:30-7 PM), a boat will arrive at each stop approximately every 20 minutes. During off-peak hours, the service will be operated every 30 minutes during the summer and every 60 minutes during the winter. New ferry landings are currently under construction at the North Williamsburg and Greenpoint sites to complete the infrastructure needed for starting the service this spring.
As part of the ferry service, a free dedicated bus service will leave from the 34th St. ferry landing during peak times and make stops along the 34th St. corridor, the Bryant Park area, Rockefeller Center, and the Grand Central area. During off peak and weekend times, a connection the MTA M34 bus will be available at the ferry landing. Ferries will accommodate bikes on board.
The service will be operated by BillyBey Ferry Company under the NY Waterway brand, through a contract with NYCEDC. NY Waterway is the largest private ferry operator in the country and currently transports nearly 30,000 riders daily in the New York harbor.
“We want to thank New York City for giving us the opportunity to provide East River commuters with the same unparalleled level of safety, reliability and convenience we have established for Hudson River commuters,” said BillyBey Ferry Company co-owner and CEO Paul Goodman. “We look forward to working with city officials and developers on the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront to develop a world class ferry operation on the East River to serve the people of these waterfront neighborhoods.”
BillyBey co-owner and Chairman William Wachtel added, “New York City’s commitment to East River ferry service will enhance the quality of life for people moving to these exciting new neighborhoods and spur both economic development along the waterfront and greater use of an environmentally friendly form of mass transit.”
The fares paid by riders will be zone-based. Within one zone, the fare will be $3, and within two zones, the fare will be $5.50. A one-zone trip means traversing one, two or three stops; and a two-zone trip means traversing more than three stops. For example, a trip from Greenpoint to 34th Street would be $3. A trip from South Williamsburg to 34th Street would be $5.50. BillyBey will provide ticketing through a combination of on-board fare collection and the eventual installation of ticket machines at many of the waterfront landings. On-board fare collection will be used until the machines are operational.
This initiative is part of the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES), a citywide initiative launched by Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn, which will create a new sustainable blueprint for the City’s more than 500 miles of shoreline. WAVES has two core components: Vision 2020: The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, which will establish long-term goals for the next decade and beyond, and the New York City Waterfront Action Agenda, which will set forth priority initiatives to be implemented within three years. Together, the initiatives will provide a blueprint for the City’s waterfront and waterways, and focus on the following categories: open space and recreation, the working waterfront, housing and economic development, natural habitats, climate change adaptation and waterborne transportation.
Brooklyn Bridge Park and Governors Island are two of the nine waterfront destinations that comprise NYHarborWay, an initiative of the Bloomberg Administration to make the New York Harbor a major recreational destination for New Yorkers and visitors. Increasing access to and connections among the major waterfront points is a central part of the initiative, and eventually will be connected by ferry or bike greenways. NYHarborWay, spearheaded by NYC & Company, will also develop a cohesive programming, marketing and communications platform which will drive visitation to the nine waterfront sites. In addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park and Governors Island, the NYHarborWay destinations are: Hudson River Park, The Battery, Ellis Island, Statue Liberty Island, Atlantic Basin, the East River Esplanade and Liberty State Park.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.