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New NYC Ferry Route Sets Sail

The city's new NYC Ferry service has been beset by delays and overcrowding, but Mayor de Blasio says new routes opening this summer should help

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    The city's new ferry service from Brooklyn to Manhattan set sail at 6:30 Thursday morning. Tracie Strahan reports. (Published Wednesday, July 26, 2017)

    Commuters now have a new way to travel between Brooklyn and Manhattan. 

    The South Brooklyn route, the latest addition to the NYC Ferry rollout, will have boats running between Bay Ridge and Wall Street, with stops at Sunset Park, Red Hook, Atlantic Avenue and Dumbo.

    The first boat left at 6:31 a.m. Thursday and carried about a dozen commuters. 

    "I am delighted to see NYC Ferry’s South Brooklyn Route launch," Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. "It’s another step forward as we connect what have been transit-starved waterfront communities to the wider city – and making it easier for people to get to work and kids to get to schools."

    The new route should help alleviate pressure on existing routes, which have been plagued by significant delays and overcrowding, the city said.

    “A lot of the people that live in Red Hook, it’s so hard for them to get places,” Betty Haggwood said. "It's sure going to help me because I'll be able to go to Manhattan."

    Ferries on the new Brooklyn route will run every 30 minutes during peak hours on weekdays and Every 45 to 55 minutes on weekends

    Routes along the East River in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and to the Rockaways, launched in May. The Astoria ferry route is set to begin in August of this year, and a route to the Lower East Side and Soundview will arrive in 2018.

    So far the launch of NYC Ferry hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing. On Memorial Day weekend, some lines for the ferries were over two hours long. Riders said they anticipate delays.

    “I take it every day. It’s five minutes late; it’s 20 minutes late; it can be sometimes 30 to 50 to an hour late,” one woman said.

    The mayor faced questions about the ferry service on Wednesday. He said the new South Brooklyn route should bring delays down from 20 to 25 minutes to 10 to 15 minutes.

    De Blasio said the demand for more ferries is a good thing, as it means people are taking advantage of a service that was meant to expand transportation options and connect people in under-served areas.

    “If we have to keep bringing in more boats to accommodate the need, that’s a blessing,” de Blasio said. “I’d love that — that means more and more people are off the streets and more and more people are out of congested subways and taking advantage of the ferries.”

    While riders have come to expect delays from the ferries, many said they still prefer them over the subway and buses, which also have their fair share of delays.

    “Some bumps and bruises, but it’s there,” Jay Stasi, of Dumbo, said of the ferry service.

    Brooklyn mom Patricia Kocsondy said the ferry is a perfect way to take her baby girl for her five-week checkup in midtown.

    “Every now and again it will be a couple minutes late, but that’s to be expected given it’s a boat and things are unpredictable. It’s no different than the subway,” Kocsondy said.

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