City keeps Rockaway Ferry afloat for summer

The Rockaway ferry that has been operating since Superstorm Sandy has enough funding to keep it running through October as the city looks for a permanent operator, the New York City Economic Development Corp. said Monday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio included $2 million in his executive budget unveiled last week to maintain the service through the summer.

During his first month in City Hall, de Blasio announced the service would extend through May with an option to keep it in place until August. The NYC EDC also put out a request for proposals for an operator to run the service permanently.

“Our local homeowners and businesses are excited about the increase presence that it will bring to Rockaway,” said Assemb. Phil Goldfeder, who is pushing for permanent ferry service. “So many people who have found the ferry to be a great option for commuting to work will now have a guarantee through October.”

The ferry, operated by Seastreak and goes to Wall Street and 34th Street, has been at risk of being discontinued since the service was instituted to replace the A train that was knocked out during Sandy, but the city has kept the boats afloat. A stop on the route was added at Brooklyn Army Terminal in August to pick up passengers while repairs are made to the R train tunnel.

De Blasio’s budget still has to be finalized and approved by the City Council.

The ferry, which costs $3.50 for a single one-way ride, averaged 880 Rockaway passengers a day in 2013, with 210 daily riders from the Brooklyn stop between August and January, according to the New York City Economic Development Corp.

In its request for proposals, the EDC said it will give consideration to operators that can maintain current service levels and limit the subsidies required to run the ferry, which cost the city between $25 and $30 per passenger, according to the agency.



Correction: This story misstated the fare structure for the Rockaway ferry. It is $3.50 for a one-way ticket.