Residents and lawmakers rallied at City Hall Wednesday to push the mayor to include the Rockaway ferry service in the budget. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
Dennis O'Conner's commute from his job in Midtown to his home in Rockaway Park was a lengthy one before Rockaway ferry service began following Hurricane Sandy.
"I take the 6 train to the 5. I take the 5 to the A. I got to get off at Rockaway Boulevard and I got to take another A to Far Rockaway. Then, I got to get off at Broad Channel, and I got to catch the shuttle to Rockaway Park," O'Conner said.
O'Conner and other residents rallied on the steps of City Hall Wednesday, concerned the service, which has already been extended several times, could be taking its last ride.
"This is a must," said one resident at the rally. "We don't want to see our ferry sail away."
Funding for the service will run out in October unless the city agrees to extend it once again.
"It's a fraction of the city's budget, and it's transporting people from some of the hardest-working communities in New York City to Lower Manhattan," said City Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens.
Ferry service launches from 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive. It runs Monday through Friday during rush hour, making a single stop in Brooklyn before arriving in Manhattan.
For residents NY1 spoke to, the $3.50 ride is worth it.
"We live right around the corner from the train. It's just so much more convenient because it's faster and it's just safer."
Borenstein: Do you plan on taking it more often?
Resident: Yes. Every chance I get.
Lawmakers said if the ferry isn't included in the city budget, Queens won't be the only borough impacted.
"The population in Brooklyn is exploding, and certainly, that is reflected by how crowded the trains are in the morning and how unreliable the trains can be in the morning also, and coming home at night," said City Councilman Vincent Gentile of Brooklyn. "So a viable alternative would be and has been the ferry service."
The city estimates it costs roughly $30 per passenger to operate each trip. The mayor's office says it's still discussing budget priorities and whether to extend the service.