July 24, By Christian Murray
Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to come to Long Island City this week to announce the launch of the new Astoria ferry route that is scheduled to begin service on August 29, officials have confirmed.
The Mayor will be at Hunters Point South to discuss the launch of the new route— which will incorporate the new dock at Gantry Plaza State Park.
The new route will connect Astoria (at the Hallets Cove dock) to Roosevelt Island, to Long Island City (Gantry Plaza), to East 34th Street, and will end at Wall Street. The existing East River route that incorporates Hunters Point South Park will be unchanged.
De Blasio released the timetable for the Astoria route in April, which shows that Astoria ferry service will begin with the first ferry leaving at 6:30 a.m. every day, and the final ferry arriving back to Astoria at 9:47 p.m. on weekdays, and 10:28 p.m. on weekends. The ferries will run every 20 minutes during peak hours, and every 30 to 45 minutes during less popular times. According to the timetable, the new system will run 30 ferries from Astoria every weekday and 23 ferries from Astoria every weekend.
The Astoria route is expected to take about 38 minutes from start to end.
A spokesperson for the mayor was unable to immediately confirm his schedule.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer applauded the addition.
“With more and more people choosing to live and build a small business in Long Island City and Western Queens, it’s more important than ever to have a variety of safe and reliable transportation options that have the capacity to handle this growth,” said Van Bramer said. “The announcement of a new ferry route connecting Astoria, Long Island City, Roosevelt Island, and Manhattan and added capacity to existing boats that service Western Queens is welcome news that I hope will alleviate overcrowding to better serve my constituents.”
Long Island City ferry commuters have faced long lines getting on board at the Hunters Point South dock in recent times, according to a report by DNAinfo last week.
The ferry service transitioned to the new citywide NYC Ferry system in May and the price for the ferry dropped–from $4 fares on weekdays and $6 on weekends to $2.75 under the new system. Some argue this has led to an uptick in ridership.