2008-05-09 / Editorial/Opinion

Some Ferry Tales Do Come True


On Monday morning, a number of commuters will huddle at 5:45 a.m., in the early morning cold, to await an historic event - the first commuter ferry run from Rockaway to Manhattan. For years, we have called the issue of a commuter ferry a "Ferry Tale," and now it has seemingly come true. We say seemingly, because it is only the beginning of a two-year trial that, for a myriad of reasons, many believe is doomed to failure. The service, to be run by New York Water Taxi, has one boat allocated to the Rockaway run. Not a high-speed catamaran, but a relatively slow-moving party fishing boat. That one boat will make two runs in the morning to Manhattan and two runs in the evening returning to Riis Landing. Because there is only one boat and two runs, the first must be early in the morning. Those who live in Far Rockaway and want to board at 5:45 a.m. will probably have to leave their homes by 5 a.m., particularly if they use public transportation. The schedule for that first boat in the morning has it landing at Pier 11 at Wall Street at 6:45. The second boat will leave Riis Landing at 7:45, a more reasonable time for most commuters from the east end of the peninsula, but will not get to Wall Street until 8:45. The first evening run returns to Rockaway at 4:30 p.m., probably before most people traditionally leave work, and the second will leave at 6:50 p.m. Assigning two boats to the run would alleviate that problem. Think about it for a moment. A Bayswater resident would have to leave home at 5 a.m. to make the morning run and then another hour to get to Wall Street. That makes the trip already an hour and forty-five minutes. The commuter who works in midtown would then have another 20 minutes on the subway, making the trip more than two hours in total. Not exactly enticing. For those who live in the west end and who work in lower Manhattan, this ferry could be a real boon. The question is, how many fall into that category, and of those who do, how many will want to take the water trip. We do not believe that the commuter ferry will be a success until it runs a high-speed boat from Bayswater, with stops at Beach 65 Street, Beach 108 Street and Riis Park and then travels to both lower and midtown Manhattan. Then, perhaps the ferry tale will really come true.

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