Want To Keep The Sunset Park Ferry? Transit Advocates Say You Better Ride It Often

Photo By Erica Sherman
Photo By Erica Sherman

The 58th Street Ferry launched into service today and transit advocates are praying that enough people use it. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle is reporting that if the ferry fails to attract riders, it is unlikely to keep sailing past Labor Day.

Last week, we reported on the emergency ferry service called into action, spurred on by the ongoing repairs on the tunnel that links the R line from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The service costs $2, fifty-cents cheaper than a subway ride, but still not free (looking at you Staten Island). The Daily Eagle described where and when the ferry, operated by Seastreak, will be stopping:

The ferries will depart from Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive in the Rockaways, stopping at the new 58th Street landing in Brooklyn, Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan and East 34th Street in Midtown.
In the morning, the ferry will stop at the Brooklyn Army Terminal at 6:20 a.m., 7:25 a.m., 8:20 a.m., 8:55 a.m., and 10:05 a.m. For the afternoon rush hour, the ferry coming from Manhattan will arrive at the Brooklyn pier at 3:15 p.m., 4:55 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

While local politicians like Councilman Vincent Gentile have fought hard to introduce ferry service, there has been no guarantee that the ride would be a hit with commuters. With the ferry starting service today, the Daily Eagle described the efforts of transit advocates to get people informed:

“We got what we wanted. Now we have to make sure it works,” said Liam McCabe, co-chairman of the Brooklyn Army Terminal Ferry Committee, a grassroots group of Bay Ridge and Sunset Park residents that worked to convince the Bloomberg Administration to give the ferry the go-ahead.
McCabe and Committee Co-Chairman Justin Brannan said they will conduct an all-out effort to get the word out to the public that the ferry service is here. The committee will also try to convince local residents to give it a try. The campaign was mapped at a committee meeting held Wednesday night at the offices of Community Board 10 in Bay Ridge.
“We’re using social media. We have a Facebook page. But we’re also doing it old-school. We’ll be handing out fliers at subway stations,” McCabe told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Aug. 1.
“The easy part is over. Now we have to make sure people use the ferry,” Brannan told the Eagle…
The ferry is subsidized by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC). “Right now, it’s a pilot program through Labor Day. Our goal is to make it permanent,” McCabe said.