Once Fledgling, East River Ferries Grow in Popularity

Home Live Wire Once Fledgling, East River Ferries Grow in Popularity

The New York Times took a look today at the future of the East River Ferry, which was started in June and shuttles passengers between Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. So far, the news has been good for the city and the ferry company:

The ferry service that the city started in June has attracted twice as many riders as its planners had expected. On sunny weekends, it has been so popular with tourists and wandering residents that some boats have been too full to take on everybody waiting on the piers in Brooklyn.

Now, with service scheduled to be reduced for the winter on Nov. 1, the operator of the ferries, BillyBey Ferry Company, is worried about having to turn away more customers. But city officials do not want to pay the operator more than the $3.1 million annual subsidy called for in a three-year contract signed this year.

Now there’s a dispute brewing between the ferry operator, who wants the city to provide more financing to allow additional weekend runs, and the city, which is interested in developing the waterfront areas along Brooklyn and Queens.

Regardless, the ferry has become a surprise hit and is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future.

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