After his State of the City address last week, New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio released additional details about the expansion of the NYC Ferry system, which will begin serving all five boroughs in 2020. The expansion is expected to increase service for many waterfront communities.
Following the launch of the Lower East Side route in August 2018, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) commenced the 2018 feasibility study to determine whether the system could expand to serve more waterfront communities throughout the five boroughs. The study included feedback from New Yorkers, elected officials, and community boards.
The expansion includes the addition of two new routes that will run from Staten Island and Coney Island, plus the modification of two existing routes to include new stops in the Bronx and Brooklyn. A new ferry stop in the Throggs Neck/Ferry Point Park section of the Bronx will join the Soundview route, and a stop at the Brooklyn Navy Yard will be added to the Astoria Route.
The NYC Ferry expansion includes:
- Launch of the St. George Route in 2020: The new route will run from St. George to Battery Park City/Vesey St., ending at Midtown West (W. 39th St. /Pier 79). Anticipated total run time is ~35 minutes.
- Launch of the Coney Island Route in 2021: The Coney Island route will launch in 2021, with a stop in Bay Ridge, before ending at Wall St. /Pier 11, an anticipated total run time of ~35 minutes from start to finish. The route is estimated to serve approximately four thousand NYCHA residents that live within a half-mile radius of the landing.
- Extension of the Soundview Route in 2021: A new landing in Throggs Neck/Ferry Point Park will be added to the Soundview route. Launched in August 2018, the Soundview route connects residents and workers in the East Bronx with stops on Manhattan’s Upper East Side (E. 90th St.), Midtown East/E. 34th St. and Wall St./Pier 11. Riders boarding at the new Throggs Neck/Ferry Point Park ferry stop are able to transfer for free to the East River, Rockaway, Astoria, and South Brooklyn routes at East 34th St. and Wall St. /Pier 11. The extended route will take approximately ~51 minutes from start to finish.
- Modification of the South Brooklyn Route in 2021: The South Brooklyn Route will be reconfigured to start from Sunset Park/Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT) instead of Bay Ridge, which will be added to the new Coney Island Route and will no longer stop at DUMBO/BBP1. Alternatively, DUMBO/BBP1 will only be accessible via the East River Route. Starting in 2021, the new estimated run time will be ~34 minutes from start to finish. In addition to current route reconfiguration, future modifications may occur to expand service to emerging job clusters.
- Modification of the Astoria Route in 2019 to include the Brooklyn Navy Yard: This May, a stop will be added at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the Astoria Route. The Navy Yard, which currently serves as NYC Ferry’s homeport, is undergoing a historic expansion of the campus and is expected to more than double its workforce by 2020. The Navy Yard ferry stop also offers a new commuting option for the many surrounding neighborhoods along the stretch of waterfront, including over 14,000 NYCHA residents. Starting this May, the Astoria Route will take ~45 minutes from start to finish.
In 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his vision for a six-route citywide ferry service that would expand transportation access across the city affordably and reliably.
On this context, in the summers of 2017 and 2018, NYCEDC launched the East River, Rockaway, South Brooklyn, Astoria, Lower East Side and Soundview routes. With 21 landings across New York City, NYC Ferry has served nearly eight million riders to date.
With the addition of the St. George and Coney Island routes, and the Throgs Neck/Ferry Point Park and BK Navy Yard’s landings, revised annual ridership forecasts project the system will reach 11 million annual riders by 2023.
In May of 2018, the de Blasio administration announced it was preparing to invest $300 million in capital for the service over the next five years.
The long-term capital plan announced in May 2018 will invest in infrastructure improvements and upgrades to existing infrastructure, larger capacity vessels, a second homeport facility, and improvements to the City’s two main ferry terminals, Wall St./Pier 11 and E. 34th St. The City will invest an additional $100 million in capital to add fleet capacity, build new landings, and invest in existing landings to support the system’s expansion.
A total of 25 jobs such as captains, deckhands, customer service agents, ticketing, operations and more and is currently accepting applications. Hiring in advance of the system’s expansion in 2020 and 2021 will commence next spring.