People Are Actually Paying to Take the East River Ferry!

07/01/2011 11:25 AM |

The East River Ferry

The collective breath-holding over the fate of the new East River Ferry has eased some since the new service ceased to be free a week ago, and people are still taking it! The Brooklyn Paper reports that from Saturday to Tuesday upwards of 12,000 people hopped a $4 ride, but is that enough to justify a route subsidized by the city to the tune of $9.3 million?

Well, maybe: the Paper cites and unspecified city estimate that projected that, in order to succeed, the New York Waterway’s new East River Ferry route connecting Midtown and Wall Street to DUMBO, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Long Island City would need to hit 400,000 riders in its first year. So far, so good, but of course this is also the absolute best time of year to ride the ferry, and free rides have a way of skewing the numbers.

While we wait for fall to get a better idea of non-summer numbers, the route’s first major tweak is already in the works: New York Waterway wants to move the Long Island City launch from its current location at Water Taxi Beach—where construction-related boat activity has been a nuisance to ferry captains—to the more central Gantry State Park, right in front of all the huge waterfront condo buildings—just like the Northside launch!

That move doesn’t appear to have happened yet, though all parties implicated seem to be in favor. The better location could help boost numbers amongst those 7 train-weary LICers.