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After one month, NYC's new ferry service proves popular enough to inspire long waits

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This past weekend, people experienced up to one-hour-long waits

Michael Appleton

It hasn’t even been a month since NYC’s citywide ferry got started, and already the service is very popular with New Yorkers, too popular some might say. On its two operating routes, the NYC Ferry is seeing an average of 57,000 riders per week, DNAinfo reports.

The Rockaway route is a little more subdued at 12,000 average weekly riders, and the East River route is bustling at 45,000 average weekly riders. Either way, there don’t seem to be enough ferries for New Yorkers at the moment.

A Con Ed oil spill earlier in the month contributed to boats running at slightly slower speeds until May 23 but that did not impact ridership levels, according to DNAinfo.

Over the Memorial Day Weekend, riders experienced up to one-hour-long waits and long lines to board ferries, the New York Times reports. In response to the increasing crowds on the ferry, the city had already added three boats to the existing fleet bringing the total to seven boats on two routes, but even that was proving to be a bit of a stretch.

About 26,000 riders took the ferry on Saturday and Sunday, city officials told The Times. More than half of those riders were talking the East River route. On June 1, the city will debut its South Brooklyn route, going from Pier 11 on Wall Street to Bay Ridge, with stops at Dumbo, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island (only for the summer), Red Hook, and Sunset Park.

Red Hook is in fact so excited about the ferry launch that neighborhood group PortSide New York is planning a free breakfast and champagne for riders on the first boat docking in Red Hook, according to DNAinfo.

Each boat fits 150 people, and comes with Wi-FI, and drinks and snacks on board. The Astoria route, which will connect Wall Street/Pier 11 to the aforementioned neighborhood, will get started in August.