By Bill Parry
Astoria residents will have new transit options this year with Citywide Ferry Service arriving at Hallets Point in June and Citi Bike expanding north from Long Island City before the end of 2017.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that Citi Bike had set a new ridership record in 2016 of nearly 14 million trips, shattering the record set in 2015 by more than 4 million.
“In 2016, we fulfilled our pledge to grow Citi Bike,” de Blasio said, “further cementing its reputation as the nation’s largest popular bike-share program. With more Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods slated to get bikes in 2017, we can expect great things.”
Citi Bike now regularly serves more than 60,000 trips a day, putting it on par with taxis and the Staten Island Ferry.
“When we first invested in New York’s bike-share program in 2012, our capital allowed a small business with big dreams to launch the largest privately funded bike share program in the world,” said Margaret Anadu, the managing director of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs. “We doubled down on Citi Bike in 2014 with additional financing to facilitate expansion of the system and are delighted to see the program hit this incredible milestone. The program has created quality jobs, promoted economic development, and changed the way many New Yorkers and visitors experience this amazing city.”
The New York City Economic Development Corporation released new data as well, showing that ridership on the East River Ferry reached an all-time high in 2016 with a total of 1,584,149 trips, an increase of 8 percent over 2015. In addition to the expansion to Astoria, new landings will open in Rockaway and Gantry Plaza State Park in the summer.
“This growing demand is one of the reasons we’re expanding ferry service citywide in 2017,” said EDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “More and more New Yorkers are looking to our waterways to get to work or school, and that’s led to increased East River Ferry ridership for the fourth year in a row.”
Citywide Ferry Service operator Hornblower is preparing to transition the East River Ferry Service into the larger Citywide Ferry system this summer. The price of a ferry ride will be reduced from $4 weekday fares and $6 weekend fares to $2.75 — the same cost as a subway ride.
“There’s a tremendous wave of excitement building as we gear up to offer more connections and more convenience than ever before once Citywide Ferry by Hornblower launches this summer,” said Cameron Clark, Hornblower vice president and project manager. “Once the transition into Citywide Ferry Service is complete, East River Ferry’s record ridership will have a record number of routes to connect in order to ‘Work, Live and Play’ across Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.”
When the system is fully implemented in 2018, the 19 boats and 10 new landings are expected to serve 4.6 million trips across six routes, providing a new and easily accessible transit option to traditionally underserved communities along the city’s waterfront, where jobs and housing are growing rapidly.
More information is available at www.citywideferry.nyc and visitors to the website can take a brief survey for a chance to win one of five free annual passes aboard the Citywide Ferry Service.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr