A new ferry service on the East River launches today and the first rides are free.
Operated by BillyBey Ferry Company under the New York Waterway Brand, the ferry makes seven regular stops along the river on the shores of Manhattan and Brooklyn:
East 34th Street/Midtown
Service map. Click to enlarge.
Hunter's Point South/Long Island City
North 6th Street/North Williamsburg
Schaefer Landing/South Williamsburg
Brooklyn Bridge Park/DUMBO
Wall Street/Pier 11
Fares start at $4 for a one-way trip. The monthly pass will cost $140 -- $36 more than a monthly MetroCard -- but the service is free through June 24.
On Fridays this summer, service will run from Brooklyn Bridge Park to Wall Street and Governors Island.
On weekends throughout the season, riders can connect to Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Borough Presidents Marty Markowitz, Scott Stringer and Helen Marshall were among the first to ride the new ferry, after a special ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The mayor and elected officials expect it will be a big hit with residents looking for an easier way to commute to Manhattan. The city is putting more than $9 million into the ferry service over the next three years. "This is really for people that live here. You know, we talk about tourists. Nobody loves tourists more than I do, but we also have to make sure that we have things for people who live in the city," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"Think about all the people that are going to enjoy a fast ride to work, getting around traffic, and enjoying the wonderful waterways of this great city," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
"I think because it's so quick, such a clean shot right to Midtown, more and more folks will use it," said Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
"I live right at the end of the block. I love the river and it's an easy way to get to work. It's awesome," said a commuter.
"The subway's a nightmare because there's so many people on it, so the ferry's a perfect option," said another.
"You can see that it's a very convenient way to transport yourself," said a third.
Boats arrive at each stop every 20 minutes during the weekday rush hour.
Ferries will operate year-round on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.
There will also be rush-hour shuttle bus service from the East 34th Street dock to points in Midtown.