2010-03-26 / Front Page

Ferry Service Gets July Extension

By Nicholas Briano
It was announced by Councilmember Eric Ulrich at Riis Landing last Friday evening that the Rockaway commuter ferry will receive an extension to July 1.

Ferry riders and demonstrators arrive at Riis Landing last Friday evening. Photo by Howard Scwhach Ferry riders and demonstrators arrive at Riis Landing last Friday evening. Photo by Howard Scwhach The announcement came as a surprise to more than 100 people in attendance for a ferry protest and demonstration led by Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon. But the demonstration turned to a celebration when Ulrich began handing out flyers which stated the extension before he addressed the crowd with the good news.

The service was scheduled to end last Friday, but Ulrich and other councilmembers worked with Speaker Christine Quinn to work out an extension while a feasible plan is developed to keep the ferry service a permanent means of transportation to the area.

Ulrich stressed to the crowd that the extension is necessary to prove the service’s worth to the community.

Councilmember Ulrich at Riis Landing last Friday prior to announcing the ferry’s extension. Councilmember Ulrich at Riis Landing last Friday prior to announcing the ferry’s extension. “Our prayers have been answered,” Ulrich said in a statement. “Reliable ferry transportation for the people of Rockaway has been saved. This was a hard fought battle that came down to the wire.

I’d like to thank the Mayor and Speaker Quinn for standing with me and my constituents, to extend this vital service.”

Part of the compromise to keep the ferry service going was to make it more cost efficient. As a result, the ferry will make just one morning run at 7:30 a.m. and depart only once from Pier 11 in the afternoon, at 5:40 p.m.

A morning rider, for $6 each way, can expect to arrive at Pier 11 in lower Manhattan at 8:30 a.m. and can arrive back in Rockaway after work by 6:40 p.m. The ferry service, which began in May 2008, was subsidized with $1.5 million in funding from the City Council, and was supposed to last for two years. But lower than expected ridership caused the funding to deplete faster than expected.

Ulrich makes the announcement that service of the Rockaway ferry will be extended to July 1, with him is Breezy Point resident Ellen McCarthy a regular ferry commuter. Ulrich makes the announcement that service of the Rockaway ferry will be extended to July 1, with him is Breezy Point resident Ellen McCarthy a regular ferry commuter. Ulrich and Councilmembers Vincent Gentile (Bay Ridge) and Sara Gonzalez (Sunset Park), whose constituents utilize the same ferry at the Brooklyn Army Terminal stop, were able to locate approximately $200,000 in funding to extend the service. The future of the ferry beyond July is still undetermined, but the extension gives the councilmembers time to explore alternate ideas to improve ridership numbers, which would justify the ferry’s existence and cost.

Therefore Ulrich will be holding a public town hall meeting with representatives from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to discuss future plans for the ferry. The meeting will be held this Wednesday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Colony Theater in Breezy Point, with a meeting in Belle Harbor to follow.
Riders were greeted with flyers announcing the extension of the service. Riders were greeted with flyers announcing the extension of the service.

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