NYC to Spend $300 Million on Ferries as Rider Forecast Doubles

(Bloomberg) -- As many as 9 million people could be using ferries to get around the most populous U.S. city by 2023, double initial projections, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

To meet that demand, the city is investing $300 million over the next several years on new 350-passenger vessels, improvements to piers and docks and a second facility for boat repairs and maintenance. That includes $35 million in the current fiscal year.

De Blasio, a second-term Democrat, has presented ferries as one alternative to New York’s subway system, which has been plagued by crowding and delays. An adult one-way ferry ticket costs $2.75, the same as a subway ride. The cost, though, is held down thanks to a city subsidy that will decrease as ridership increases.

NYC Ferry, launched in May 2017, carried 3.7 million passengers in its first year, with four of six planned routes operating and only two running the full year. The city had forecast 4.6 million riders once all were fully operating. The last two, Soundview in the Bronx and the Lower East side, will begin this summer, de Blasio said Thursday in a statement.

Spending plans include improvements to the busiest terminals in lower and midtown Manhattan.

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