Construction Crews Race to Launch Citywide Ferry Service

Construction crews have been working nearly nonstop to write a new chapter in New York City's transportation story: the Citywide Ferry Service.

"We have worked day and night to make sure we will launch by 2017," said Maria Springer-Torres of the city's Economic Development Corporation.

Springer-Torres told NBC 4 New York that the first batch of barges, which double as docks, are nearly finished.

"It's real. It's happening," she said Wednesday at a construction site on Staten Island.

The citywide ferry service is set to launch next summer, and by 2018 will be operating from 21 landings across the city for the price of single subway ride.

When fully operational by 2018, 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.

The service will also fully integrate the East River Ferry, resulting in lower fares for its 4,000 daily riders -- from $4 to $2.75 per ride -- but there will be no free MTA transfers to trains or buses.

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

The Staten Island Ferry will continue to operate separately and remain free.

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