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Rockaway ferries to chug soon

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Rockaway ferries to chug soon



May 6th 2008



Daily News[/float]A new ferry service starting next week will offer Rockaways commuters a $6 ride to Wall Street - part of an expansion of ferry service that city officials hope will get commuters off the streets and onto the East River.


"It's going to replace hours spent in traffic with a beautiful ride along New York's coastline," Mayor Bloomberg said at a ferry dock in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. "Ferries are going to become an even bigger part of our city's transportation network."


City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) earlier this year called for ferry service in all five boroughs and said new service to Long Island City, Queens, and South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, will begin in July.


Planners expect 250 riders a day will ride the boat to and from Riis Landing in the Rockaways, paying $6 each way on top of any bus or subway fares.


"This fare of $6 is probably the lowest ferry fare we've ever seen in the city," Quinn said. "Our goal here is to make this ferry service available to as many New Yorkers as possible."


Previous attempts to run ferries have failed because of high costs and limited schedules, but Bloomberg and Quinn said increased subsidies and a new push for transportation alternatives are making ferries more attractive.


"If nobody uses the ferries, they're not going to survive, no matter what anybody promises you. If everybody uses them, they will keep growing," Bloomberg said. "Society can't keep providing things that aren't used."


City Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Queens) has pushed for Rockaways ferry service for years, squirreling away $1.1 million in the city budget to subsidize the two-year pilot program.


Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) also rounded up $4.4 million in federal funds to build new ferry docks in Greenpoint and North Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and on Roosevelt Island.


"This is an example of what you can do by the intelligent use of those great, terrible things called earmarks," Nadler said. "This money is earmarked money, which is to say, Congress earmarked it for this use, for ferries in New York City. And we are very glad that Congress did."


The Bloomberg administration has not always been so friendly to the idea of a Rockaways ferry. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) won $15 million in federal funds in 2005 for Rockaways ferry service, but the money has gone unused as city officials said the route was impractical.


"Anthony Weiner deserves some credit," Bloomberg said. "We're not going to walk away from 15 million bucks."


Weiner was invited to yesterday's announcement, but skipped it to give a keynote speech to the state machinists union.

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It would be beautiful ride, but I doubt very many Far Rockaway commuters are going to use it, if they can ride the train for a third of the price.


I dunno, i think the more connections they have the better, one more way you can get between LI and MI.


- Andy

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It would be beautiful ride, but I doubt very many Far Rockaway commuters are going to use it, if they can ride the train for a third of the price.

It could attract those who take the express buses and LIRR more. The ferry service would just be about a dollar more than the express bus and LIRR cost more than the ferry.

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