NYC Ferry service: What to know about the commuter boats

A NYC Ferry heads toward Manhattan from Clason Point Park in the Bronx on Wednesday.
A NYC Ferry heads toward Manhattan from Clason Point Park in the Bronx on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

The slick new boats zipping around New York’s waterways provide an alternative means of transportation for commuters and tourists. Here’s what you need to know about the NYC Ferry service.

What’s new

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced more details on Monday to expand the NYC Ferry system to all five boroughs by 2020. 

Two new routes — St. George-Midtown West and Coney Island-Wall Street — will be added to the system, and changes are being made to three existing routes.

A Manhattan-bound NYC Ferry.
A Manhattan-bound NYC Ferry. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

The service is expected to serve 11 million riders by 2023.

What’s next

In May, NYC Ferry’s Astoria route will begin making stops at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The city expects to launch the St. George route in 2020. The route will make stops at St. George Terminal, Battery Park City/Vesey St. and Pier 79 at W. 39th St. in Midtown West.

The Coney Island route will start in 2021 and will stop in Bay Ridge before ending at Wall Street/Pier 11.

Also expected in 2021: A new stop at the Throggs Neck/Ferry Point landing in the Bronx will be added to the Soundview route and the South Brooklyn ferry will be rerouted to start at Sunset Park/Brooklyn Army Terminal instead of Bay Ridge. The Bay Ridge stop will be included in the new Coney Island route.

How we got here

NYC Ferry had its maiden voyage on May 1, 2017. Since then, nearly 8 million people have ridden the ferry service.

About 18,000 people rely on the ferry network every weekday and some 28,000 riders take advantage of the service on weekends, per the EDC. A one-way ticket costs $2.75.

The ferry service had an on-time performance of 93 percent during the second quarter of 2018, which spanned from April 1 through June 30, according to the EDC.

City schoolchildren have previously entered contests to name some of the vessels, whose monikers include “Rainbow Cruise,” “Seas the Day” and “Lunchbox.”


Despite carrying significantly fewer riders per year than the subway and buses, the ferry enjoys higher tax subsidies per rider, causing transit advocates to call on the mayor to refocus his efforts on the subway.

The subway serves 1.75 billion riders per year with a subsidy of $1.29 per rider, according to the MTA. The ferry is expected to serve 11 million riders per year by 2023 with a $6.60 subsidy per rider. For the past two years, however, the subsidy per rider has been $8.96, Crain’s New York reported.