The city’s ferry system on Wednesday launched its first-ever service out of the Bronx, providing a new commuting alternative for those in the transit-starved borough.
The NYC Ferry Soundview Route connects Clason Point Park in the Bronx to Wall Street/Pier 11, making stops at East 90th Street and East 34th Street along its route.
Clason Point residents who took the boat the morning of the launch said they were thrilled to have a faster and more picturesque way into the city.
“I love it — it’s a great alternative for transportation,” said Millie Campuzano, 57, who works as a legal assistant near the ferry’s final stop downtown.
Campuzano said she lives near the route’s starting point in the Clason Point section of the Bronx, where her options for getting to work were limited and time-consuming. The area is not accessible by subway. In the past, she either drove to work or took the Bx39 or Bx27 bus to the closest subway station, and both commutes took roughly an hour and fifteen minutes during rush hour.
The Soundview Route, on the other hand, takes about 45 minutes. At $2.75, a one-way ticket costs the same as a subway ride.
For residents who enjoy Manhattan but are tired of slow and unpredictable subway service, the ferry is a breath of fresh air, said one longtime local.
“I go to Manhattan a lot for pleasure, and traveling from the Bronx to New York is usually not a pleasure,” said Bill Folchi, 66, a retiree who said he goes into the city to enjoy the museums about twice a week.
His trek would normally take about an hour and a half, he said.
Folchi had no complaints about the ferry, on the other hand.
“It seems to be on time,” he said. “And you breathe some fresh air.”
The 9:22 a.m. ferry Wednesday morning was sparsely populated with just a few dozen travelers.
The NYC Ferry has served more than five million riders since premiering in May 2017, but that ridership is significantly dwarfed by other forms of transit — the subway, for instance, serves more than five million riders daily — leading to criticism that the city is overspending on the waterborne service.
Mayor Bill de Blasio in May announced the city will dedicate nearly twice as much taxpayer money as originally planned to the ferry service, funneling an additional $300 million into the program to serve an annual ridership of 9 million by 2023.
NYC Ferry service also will soon be offered to the Lower East Side. A planned 32-minute route, launching on Aug. 29, will run from Wall Street/Pier 11 to Long Island City, stopping at Corlears Hook, Stuyvesant Cove and East 34th Street.