It will take riders from Bay Ridge to Wall Street, with stops at Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, Atlantic Basin in Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 and Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1.
The route is designed to serve communities like Red Hook that lack transit options.
“There’s not a way to get around easily,” de Blasio said at a launch ceremony last week. “People in Red Hook often felt isolated.
“If you had resources, you had options and if you didn’t you were left out,” de Blasio added. “This is evening up the score. This is part of creating more fairness in New York City.”
Lillie Marshall, president of Red Hook West Tenants Association and resident of the neighborhood for over 50 years, believes the ferry will be a great boon to her neighbors, especially at the cost of a subway swipe.
“We have a new ferry and new options for transit at a good price, which we can afford,” she said. “For years, we have been fighting for more and better transportation for this community.”
Marshall noted that Red Hook is cut off from the rest of the borough by highways, and after Hurricane Sandy accessing the area became even more difficult.
“The change today makes life so much easier for us,” she added. “We will be able to get to more jobs, children will be able to get to school more easily and in less time. People as a whole can get to the their doctors, we can shop in more places.”
Councilman Carlos Menchaca praised the community for pushing for the ferry and other alternative modes of transportation, like the newly added Citi Bike stations.
“This would not have happened if the community had not stood up and say ‘we need it,’” Menchaca said.
Over the first month, NYC Ferry has not been without a few kinks.
With higher than expected ridership – EDC reported the East River route had 194,000 riders and the Rockaway route had 53,000 in the month of May – many riders have been left stranded waiting for the next boat to arrive.
De Blasio said the city will look at all solutions to address the overcrowding, including adding more or bigger boats to the fleet. He believes they’ll have an answer over the next few months.
The next route to launch will serve Western Queens and start service on August 1, then Soundview in the Bronx sometime in the first half of 2018. Beyond that, ridership will decide.
De Blasio said he’s heard from residents in Coney Island, the south shore of Staten Island and northeast Queens that they’re interested in joining the system.
“We’re going to look at all of those,” he said. “We need to look at this first set of lines to see what kind of expansion we should do. If this ridership is really strong, that encourages us to go farther.”