East River Ferry Hits 1 Million Rider Mark

July 16, 2012 Updated: July 22, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and City Council member Steve Levin ride the East River Ferry in recognition of the 1 million passenger milestone
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and City Council member Steve Levin ride the East River Ferry in recognition of the 1 million passenger milestone. (William Alatriste)

The East River Ferry has served more than twice the projected number of passengers during the first year of a three-year pilot program.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined the BillyBey Ferry Company Monday to announce that the ferry service had served 1 million riders, well beyond the projected 409,000 riders per year.

“Using our waterways as transportation corridors makes for a greener and more livable city, and knits together rapidly growing neighborhoods in new ways,” Bloomberg said in a press release.

The pilot ferry service was launched by Bloomberg’s office to support economic development along the waterfront. A survey will be launched on board, online, and via phone over the next few weeks to further improve the five-borough service.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced on Monday the East River Ferry had served 1 million passengers in just over a year
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced on Monday the East River Ferry had served 1 million passengers in just over a year, and greeted ferry riders. (Edward Reed)

“The new satisfaction survey will enable us to gauge our customers’ needs so we can continue to provide the next million riders with the outstanding service they have come to expect,” said Paul Goodman, CEO of BillyBey Ferry Company.

The survey aims to provide better understanding of passengers’ origins and final destinations. It will target residents living within walking distance of the ferry landings in Long Island City in Queens, and Williamsburg and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn.

This isn’t the first time a ferry service between boroughs has been tried, and previous attempts have failed. The BillyBey Ferry Company hopes to succeed and, at the same time, better serve future passengers with the survey results.

A new landing in Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 opened in May to accommodate the increase of riders. Larger vessels, capable of carrying 399 passengers, are operating on weekends to reduce service delays and increase capacity.

“In just a little more than a year since its launch, the East River Ferry has consistently exceeded paid ridership predictions and provided residents and tourists alike with a fun, scenic alternative to getting around some of New York City’s most vibrant neighborhoods,” Quinn said.

Fares are $4 for a one-way ticket, $12 for an unlimited all-day pass, and $140 for an unlimited monthly pass. Ferries can accommodate bikes on board, for an extra dollar.

The East River Ferry connects East Midtown at 34th Street in Manhattan with Long Island City in Queens, various points in Brooklyn, including Williamsburg and DUMBO, Governors Island and South Manhattan at Wall Street/Pier 11.

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