New York City

East River Ferry Fare Will Cost the Same as Subway Swipe Beginning This Summer

The fare that ferry passengers now pay on existing routes across the East River is about to go down. 

Mayor de Blasio confirmed Wednesday that when Citywide Ferry Service launches this summer, the price of any ride will be the same as a subway swipe, $2.75. 

The mayor has committed more than $300 million in taxpayer dollars to subsidize a ferry network from places like Soundview, Astoria, Bay Ridge and the Rockaways.

The first route opens this summer, and most others will open in 2018. When fully operational, Citywide Ferry Service will carry an estimated 4.6 million trips per year across six routes, providing new transportation to fast-growing communities, including some in so-called "transit deserts," officials say.  

"We don't have a train that really connects these neighborhoods around here," said Maria Cornwall of Red Hook.

Many commuters in those areas say they haven't even considered getting to work by boat.

"Everyone's used to the train," said Dominique Upshaw of Williamsburg, noting habits may have to change. "It's a whole different system." 

Asked why the money for the ferry network isn't being used on a new subway expansion instead, de Blasio said ferries can happen faster.

"We control that. We can do this quickly," he said. "If this had been in a proposal to the MTA, no offense to the MTA but it would have waited many years."

The city began hiring dock workers, deckhands and captains for the ferries Wednesday. The 200 jobs will be based at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced the Citywide Ferry Service will be operated by Hornblower, Inc., which has already been operating in the New York Harbor for a decade.

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