New York's hottest new transit service just got even hotter.
On Thursday, the new South Brooklyn route launched on the NYC Ferry service, connecting Wall Street to Bay Ridge with stops in DUMBO, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Red Hook and Sunset Park in between. On weekdays, boats on the route will operate every 30 minutes during peak periods and every 45 minutes during the rest of the day. On weekends, you can catch a ferry every 45 to 55 minutes; the route will provide summertime service to and from Governors Island. You can find the full schedule here.
The NYC Ferry service launched at the beginning of May to a good deal praise. A new route connecting the Rockaways to Lower Manhattan provided a much-needed transit option for residents and visitors of the Queens beachside community. A fresh line of boats solved many of the problems associated with the old East River Ferry, which is now umbrellaed under the new service.
A one-way fare on the ferry costs just $2.75, which is the same as the subway (though your MetroCard is no good on the boats). The boats on the ferry give way for a pretty stellar transit experience: Each is fitted with a boutique news stand that sells coffee and booze, and there's also free Wi-Fi.
Even with all the great bells and whistles, the first month of service for the NYC Ferry was not perfect. The boats, which have a capacity of just 149 people, have not been able to keep up with the high demand during peak weekend hours. This has led to long lines at landing stations and a good deal of frustration from commuters who hoped the ferries would at least partially reconcile their subway transit woes.
Mayor Bill de Blasio considers the crowds of people rushing to take advantage of the service a success and hinted that an increase in capacity could be coming to the service.
"If we have to keep bringing in more boats to accommodate the need, that’s a blessing," he said at a press event on Wednesday. "That means more and more people are off the streets, more and more people are out of congested subways and taking advantage of the ferry. So we’ll keep meeting the demand."
De Blasio is hoping for the ferries to be a big transit win. He does not have any control over the city's subway system, even though he's often blamed for its shortcomings. Another route out of Astoria is set to launch in August, with two more routes out of the Lower East Side and Soundview coming in 2018.
If everything goes as planned, the ferry service could provide rides for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers annually. While that's just a drop in the bucket in terms of the city's overall transit demand, we'll take a win wherever we can get it.