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NYC Ferry fares rise to $4 per ride starting Monday

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An NYC Ferry goes down the East River.
File Photo by Kevin Duggan

Ticket prices for the NYC Ferry will increase for the first time since the service launched, from $2.75 per trip to $4, effective Monday, Sept. 12. 

The city’s quasi-public Economic Development Corporation, which runs the maritime transit service, will also simultaneously roll out a set of discounts.

Mayor Eric Adams bumped the base fare for the boats by 45% to help fund the costly waterborne transit system.

A new 10-trip ticket will go for $27.50, allowing frequent riders to still pay the old rate if they get the bundle.

There will be a new reduced $1.35 one-way fare for seniors, people with disabilities, and participants in the city’s half-priced MetroCard program known as Fair Fares, which is open to New York City residents at or below the federal poverty line.

There will no longer be a $1 fee to bring a bike on board. 

EDC also eliminated monthly passes which cost $121, or $141 including bikes.

NYC Ferry previously offered 50% discounts on the 30-day passes to riders over the age of 65 and those with disabilities.

Those discontinued fare packages, costing $60.50 for unlimited rides over a month, were actually slightly cheaper than the new deal at just over $1 per ride if commuters used the ferry twice a day — but the benefit didn’t extend to low-income New Yorkers. 

Eligible riders can now apply online or by mailing in a form from NYC Ferry’s website, ferry.nyc, for the discounted rate. Once officials verify their credentials, they can buy the discounted tickets via the NYC Ferry app or at the Pier 11/Wall Street stop.

Folks already enrolled in the old discounts do not need to register again. 

Additionally, residents of 60 New York City Housing Authority public housing developments within a mile of a ferry stop can get vouchers for two free rides if they sign up for a new NYC Ferry account via the mobile app.

Mayor Adams announced the fare hike in July as an effort to rein in the mounting cost to keep the ferries afloat.

That month, NYC Ferry also launched new “premium” direct voyages to the Rockaways called the “Rockaway Rocket,” with advance reservations for $8 each way on summer weekends through Labor Day.

“Rockaway Rocket” begins on July 23, for $8 each way offering a direct ride to the beach with advance reservation at a charge of $8 each way.

An audit released by Comptroller Brad Lander about a week before the mayor’s announcement found that each $2.75 ride was subsidized by up to nearly $15 by the taxpayer and that the nautical transportation option cost nearly a quarter-billion more over six years than officials previously revealed.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio launched NYC Ferry in 2017 and the service has grown to 25 landings across six routes in every borough. The former mayor wanted to keep the cost of the ticket pegged to the price of a trip on the subways and buses, which are run by the separate state Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

But the 38-vessel fleet largely carried wealthy and white commuters, many of whom live along the high-end neighborhoods of the Big Apple’s waterfront, EDC’s data showed.

The city has started looking for a company to take over the ferry system as San Francisco-based Hornblower’s contract with EDC is set to expire next year. 

Some 17,300 people ride the ferries on an average weekday, according to EDC’s latest statistics for the second quarter of 2022, which is close to its pre-pandemic numbers for the same period in 2019.

The free Staten Island Ferry carries more than four times as many people, or 75,000 on a typical weekday, between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island, according to its operator the Department of Transportation.

Masks are also now optional on both ferry systems, after Governor Kathy Hochul dropped the statewide mandate for face coverings in transit last week. 

To apply for the discounted ferry fares visit ferry.nyc/ticketing-info/.

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