Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday that the ferry service between the Rockaways section of Queens and Lower Manhattan that began in the wake of Hurricane Sandy will last through Labor Day, and it will also provide extended weekend service to Jacob Riis Park as well. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
Rockaway ferry riders, rejoice. A city-subsidized ferry put in place after Hurricane Sandy knocked out the Rockaways' link to the A train is sticking around through at least Labor Day.
"I cannot think of taking the train, or the bus or the train, to the city during the summer months, and I'm hoping it goes beyond Labor Day because I really can't think of taking the bus or the train in the winter months, either," said one commuter. "The ferry just rocks."
On Tuesday, the city announced that the $2-per-ride service will continue into early September, even though A train service was restored to the Rockaways on May 30. That was welcome news for the commuters who've taken to the ferry, which offers far better views than the subway.
"It's cheap, and summertime, it's great," said one rider. "You're not stuck on the train or the bus going through Brooklyn or anything like that."
City officials had originally extended the ferry's run for six weeks after the A train's return, with a pledge to keep it going until Labor Day if ridership stayed strong.
According to the city, approximately 700 riders use the ferry daily.
What happens after Labor Day, though? City officials said they'll keep studying the ferry's ridership figures to determine if the service extends beyond that holiday.
"I hope that all the efforts are made so we can have the ferry for a longer time," said one rider.
Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder collected more than 3,000 signatures on a petition for the city to commit to the ferry for good.
"The announcement that the ferry is going to remain in place until Labor Day is a great next step, but we're not going to rest until the ferry is permanent for all residents," Goldfeder said.
Another Rockaway ferry line was shut down in 2010 due to lack of ridership. But with more than 90,000 passenger trips taken since the city started the current service in November, many commuters are hoping this one lasts longer than a summer fling.
The ferries leave from the landing at Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive and arrive at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan, and a free transfer is available to East 34th Street.
Regular service from the Rockaways to Manhattan is available between 5:45 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. and through the evening rush on weekdays.
One-way weekday fares cost $2. Weekend beach service fare is $30 round trip, or $26 with a transfer from the East River Ferry.
For more information on schedules and fares, visit www.newyorkbeachferry.com.