Rockaway Residents Protest Proposed End of Ferry Service

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It was supposed to be only temporary after Sandy, but some residents are fighting to keep the Rockaway Ferry from budget cuts. Danielle Elias has the story. (Published Monday, Jul 14, 2014)

    Many Rockaway residents love it, but time is running out for a temporary ferry that replaced the A-train service wrecked by Hurricane Sandy.

    The ferry connecting the Rockaways and Manhattan didn’t make the budget cut this year and has only a few months left of operation.

    Funding is expected to run out in October, but Rockaway commuters are fighting to keep it alive, arguing that it's essential to the community's survival. 

    “This is like an ace in a hole for us," said Danny Ruscillo, co-chair of Transportation for Rockaway Community Board. "It brings people to work in the morning. It brings people back. It brings visitors in."

    The city says the ferry is already the most taxpayer-subsidized trip but it would still explore ways to continue the service.

    In a statement to NBC 4 New York, a spokesperson for the New York City Economic Development Corporation said, "The city added funding for a fourth service extension to allow operation through October, supporting both Rockaway commuters and Brooklyn residents during the R train outage. We will continue to examine ridership and seek a sustainable funding stream that can support the $25-$30 subsidy per trip."

    The city says that ridership is the "people equivalent" of less than half of a full subway train -- an investment the city is now questioning.

    “There’s a big difference between taking the bus in and watching the bus driver fight traffic," said ferry rider Joe Adinolfi. "This is great.” 

    “We hope they can find the funding because this is wonderful for Rockaway,” said ferry rider Rosemary Adinolfi.