New East River Ferry Service Off to a Strong Start

06/20/2011 1:20 PM |

12,000 people took one of these over two days.

  • 12,000 people took one of these over two days.

If you tried to get around the Northside Festival using the new East River Ferry, you might have had to wait for one packed ferry to pass, L train style, before squeezing aboard. Since it set sail a week ago this morning, New York Waterway’s new East River Ferry has seen huge crowds taking advantage of its free service; DNAinfo reports that nearly 12,000 people rode the new ferry in its first two days.

According to numbers released by NY Waterway last week, approximately 5,700 passengers rode the new ferry service on its first day, and another 6,000 took it on Tuesday. The ferries, whose Coast Guard-approved capacity is only 149 passengers, remained packed over the weekend with folks headed to Northside in North Brooklyn and the Governors Ball on Governors Island.

The real challenge, though, will be when the service ceases to be free on Saturday, and even more so on Monday the 27th, when the East River Ferry’s efforts to draw daily commuters with a $140 monthly pass really gets put to the test. Can L train dissenters with a little extra cash to burn keep the new ferry afloat?