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Councilman Calls For Ferry Service To Help Brooklyn Commuters When R Train Tunnel Closes

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TWC News: Councilman Calls For Ferry Service To Help Commuters When R Train Tunnel Closes
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Thousands of straphangers will soon lose part of their subway service, thanks to needed repairs from Hurricane Sandy, and a Brooklyn councilman is suggesting ferry service as a way to help those commuters. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

The commute between Brooklyn and Manhattan is about to get a lot tougher for R train riders.

On August 4, the R train tube that links the boroughs is closing for 14 months to undergo permanent repairs to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The 65,000 affected riders can make free transfers to 11 other lines at the four stops just before Manhattan. But Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile says that just doesn't cut it.

"It does not constitute a contingency plan just to say, 'Transfer just before you get all the way downtown,'" Gentile said.

So Gentile is floating an idea to bring ferries back for riders who live at the farthest reaches of the line, with the federal government picking up much of the cost.

He points to the ferries the city set up for A train riders in the Rockaways in the wake of the storm, and the ones the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid for to shuttle Bay Ridge commuters after the September 11th attacks.

"We've done it in the past, and we certainly did it in post-9/11," Gentile said. "We can do it now."

Some straphangers said ferries would take the pressure off other lines that were crowded with R train riders, which happened for nearly two months after Hurricane Sandy because of damage to the tube.

"There was a large congestion at Barclays Center/Atlantic Avenue because everyone was going upstairs changing for the 2 and the 3 train," said one rider. "Lot of congestion."

"I think ferries are an option," said another. "I've always felt that ferries have been an option here."

One would think commuters would welcome another option on how to get around. But not everyone is sold on the ferry idea.

"I would personally just prefer to take some other kind of subway, do some kind of transfer," said one commuter. "Ferry sounds too complicated for an everyday commute to me."

"It's just a lot of hassle," said another. "You have to transfer, you have to wait for the ferry. It's just, I don't trust ferries."

It appears straphangers may not even get the choice. A FEMA spokesman declined comment, meaning straphangers could soon have to get used to hopping subway lines again.

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