May 3, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
NYC Ferry will be getting a massive injection in funds to expand the system’s service and ridership over the next five years, the city announced Thursday.
Mayor de Blasio said the city is investing $300 million in capital for a slew of investments towards the system, including new ferries capable of carrying 350 passengers, dock and pier improvements, and a second homeport to maintain and repair ferries. The expansion is expected to accommodate for 9 million annual riders by 2023, twice as many as previously projected, the city said.
“New Yorkers have spoken. We’re going to need bigger boats,” de Blasio said in a statement “We’re gearing up to meet the extraordinary demand for more public transit on our waterways.”
The announcement comes as two new routes are slated to come online in coming months, including the Lower East Side Route connecting Long Island City to parts of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
The city is already gearing up for a busy spring and summer ridership season. It will deploy three new vessels capable of carrying 350 passengers along the service’s busiest routes, add charter vessels, and increase service frequency.
In addition, the East River and South Brooklyn routes will include Governors Island—a popular summer destination—as a stop beginning Memorial Day weekend.
The ferry system has hit record ridership counts since launching in May 2017, according to the city. Around 3.7 million passengers were recorded in the system’s first year with just four routes in place when the city projected 4.6 million riders once all six routes came online.
The city’s Economic Development Corporation said it will study potential route expansions later this year.