The decision has been made. New York City's expanded ferry service now has a provider. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that San Francisco-based company Hornblower will operate the new routes when service commences in the summer of 2017, the New York Times reported.
Fares will be the same as a one way trip on a subway - $2.75. And three new routes will launch next summer going to Astoria, the Rockaways in Queens, and South Brooklyn. That will be followed by routes to the Lower East Side and Soundview in the Bronx in 2018.
As part of the contract, Hornblower will receive $30 million per year over the next six years to operate the ferry. The administration will spend an additional $55 million on infrastructure like landing docks. There will be free transfers from one ferry route to the other, but not to subways at the moment.
Furthermore Hornblower will also take over operating the existing East River Ferry route, fares for which will be reduced to $2.75 per ride from it's existing $4 on weekdays and $6 on weekends. That has obviously not gone down well with New York Waterway, which runs the existing ferry along with Billybey, according to the Brooklyn Paper, as well as New York Water Taxi, which runs the Ikea ferry. The companies together had also bid on the expanded ferry service but lost. Now New York Water Taxi says it will be forced to shutdown as it has to compete with subsidized fares.
The city estimates that the ferries will make 4.6 million trips each year by 2018. The ferries will connect 21 docks and operate a fleet of 18 at the start. Hornblower also currently runs cruises to the Statue of Liberty.