NYC Ferry service along the East River is expanding, and this summer there will be two new routes and additional ferry stops.
Mayor Bill de Blaiso on Wednesday announced the start of construction of a new ferry landing at Corlears Hook Park in lower Manhattan.
The Lower East Side route is expected to serve nearly one million riders annually, traveling to and from Manhattan's Wall Street/Pier 11, Corlears Hook, Stuyvesant Cove, East 34th Street; and Long Island City in Queens.
The Soundview Route, which is scheduled to also launch this summer, will serve an estimated 400,000 riders traveling to and from the Soundview area of the Bronx, East 90th Street, East 34th Street, and Wall Street/Pier 11 in Manhattan each year.
The mayor said the ferry system is about finding ways for New Yorkers to get around an already heavily congested city.
"Where could we turn, right here to the water. And as you can see it's not crowded, it's not congested. One of the things I love about our rivers and our harbor, there are no traffic lights, there are no stop signs, there are no traffic jams. And it's a chance to take advantage of this beautiful asset in this city," de Blasio said.
To accommodate the growing number of New Yorkers using the ferry service, the city said it is adding six higher-capacity boats to its fleet.
The bigger vessels will also have larger engines and will be able to hold up to 349 passengers.
Three of the larger vessels are expected to arrive in the New York Harbor over the summer.
NYC Ferry is less than a year old and proving to be more popular than initially anticipated. Tickets are $2.75, and the boats serve alcohol.
Last year, the ferries took passengers on close to three million rides. That is significant but still just a fraction of the 1.7 billion subway rides people took last year.
"Our streets are too congested, our highways are too congested, our subways are too crowded," the mayor said. "We needed more alternatives."
There was no word from de Blasio on Wednesday about congestion pricing, the state plan to get traffic flowing faster on those clogged streets; he did not take any questions. Historically, de Blasio has been resistant to the idea, but he seems more receptive recently.