BAY RIDGE — The NYC Ferry is proving to be popular in Bay Ridge, where residents line up at the 69th Street Pier weekday mornings to board the vessel to travel to work or school Manhattan.
But the service could also stand some improvement, according to local elected officials, who are calling on the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the agency that oversees the city’s waterfront, to fund a shuttle service that would take passengers to and from the 69th Street pier.
Councilmember Justin Brannan, Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus, State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and U.S. Rep. Max Rose wrote a letter to James Patchett, the president and CEO of EDC, to make a formal request for a shuttle service, pointing out that the ride to the pier is needed, especially in view of the fact that a new, express ferry from Bay Ridge to Manhattan is set to be introduced in 2021.
The current service makes stops in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park and DUMBO before arriving at Pier 11 on Wall Street. The trip takes approximately 40 minutes.
“The express ferry planned for Bay Ridge starting in 2021 has the potential to be a true transit game changer for southwest Brooklyn. It will provide our constituents with access to lower Manhattan and the rest of the city at a fraction of the travel time currently offered by other transportation options,” the lawmakers told Patchett in the letter.
“We need a shuttle to help get more people to the 69th Street Pier, where the Bay Ridge NYC Ferry stop is located. The pier is tucked a fair distance away from many of our constituents,” the elected officials added.
Riders who waited for the ferry at the pier Friday morning said a shuttle sounded like a good idea to them.
“I would take it if they had one. I walk here, but it’s a long walk for me,” said Manny, who declined to give his last name.
Another rider said she would take a shuttle service to get to the pier, “but only if it’s free.”
Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, endorsed the proposal for a shuttle service. “I think it’s a wonderful idea. I think it would increase ridership,” she told the Home Reporter.
The de Blasio administration launched NYC Ferry in 2016, bringing ferry service to four of the five boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. The Bay Ridge ferry stop was added in 2017.
In addition to requesting a shuttle, the four Bay Ridge lawmakers also asked EDC to consider integrating NYC Ferry with the MTA’s MetroCard system. The ferry ride costs the same as a subway or bus ride, but passengers cannot get free transfers from a subway or bus to the ferry.
“As it is now, anyone taking a trip that involves both the ferry and a subway or bus ride is paying at least a double fare if not more. Allowing for transfers between the ferry and subway/bus systems would go a long way toward making NYC Ferry a more available option for all New Yorkers,” the elected officials wrote.
A spokesperson for EDC told the Home Reporter the agency needed time to look into the lawmakers’ request for a shuttle before commenting on the proposal.