By next summer, New Yorkers in more neighborhoods across the city will have a new way of getting around — and all for the price of one subway ride.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that citywide ferry service — expected to connect 21 neighborhoods — is on track to launch by 2017 with Hornblower Inc. as operator.
The citywide service is the first in more than a century and will cost riders the same as a single subway ride.
The ferry will cover more than 60 miles of waterway and connect neighborhoods such as Astoria, Rockaway, the Lower East Side and Bay Ridge.
“For the price of a single subway ride, tens of thousands of New Yorkers are going to have a new public transit option linking them to jobs, education and opportunities across the city. It’s going to be a commute like no other: fresh air, harbor views and a fast ride on the open water,” de Blasio said. “We are selecting an operator with an incredible track record providing service in our harbor.”
Hornblower will deliver about 18 new Wi-Fi-enabled boats, each of which will be able to carry at least 149 passengers. The ferries will be fully accessible for New Yorkers with disabilities and will be equipped with engines designed to reduce emissions and noise.
“We have already begun work to deliver a ferry system by the summer of 2017 which will revolutionize the way New Yorkers work, live and play, and we are confident this new system will become a local favorite for decades to come,” said Terry MacRae, CEO of Hornblower.
The fare will include transfers to any other ferry route within the system, including the East River ferry. Tickets will be available as paper and through a smartphone, and seniors, children and the disabled will receive discounts. There will be a $1 charge to bring a bike aboard.
Routes scheduled to launch in 2017 are Rockaway, connecting to the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Wall Street; Astoria connecting to Roosevelt Island (new home of Cornell Tech), Long Island City, East 34th Street and Wall Street; and South Brooklyn, connecting to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 and Pier 6, and Wall Street — with a optional route to Governors Island.
Commuting time from the first routes to Wall Street and East 34th Street ranges from 22 minutes to an hour.
In 2018 the service would expand to Soundview in the Bronx and the Lower East Side. Future routes from Coney Island and Stapleton in Staten Island are in the planning stages.
By the time it is fully operation in 2018, the service is expected to carry about 4.6 millions trips a year.
“The greatest expansion of citywide ferry service in New York in a century will provide direct connectivity to underserved waterfront communities around the boroughs, while enabling resiliency, redundancy and development for our city,” said Maria Torres-Springer, president of the New York City Economic Development Corp.