Less than three months after it officially got underway, the NYC Ferry has already seen 1 million riders hop on board, the Mayor’s Office announced on Wednesday. The ferry service wasn’t expected to hit that mark until August 23, but it has proved be extremely popular with New Yorkers, what with the long lines, and the city’s decision to hire charter boats to accommodate the growing crowds.
The city has clubbed another announcement with this milestone: The Astoria route on the ferry will get started on August 29, and offer a connection from the neighborhood to Pier 11/Wall Street, with stops along the way at Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, and East 34th Street.
“As we prepare to launch the Astoria route, we continue to add capacity to this brand new and wildly popular system – one that connects transit-starved neighborhoods and commuters to jobs and the wider city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, in a statement.
By that he meant that the city now plans to add three large boats to its overall 20-vessel fleet. At present, the ferries can accommodate 149 people on board. These three larger vessels will be able to carry up to 249 passengers.
There are three functional routes on the the NYC Ferry at the moment: East River, the Rockaways, and South Brooklyn. The Astoria route’s launch next month will be followed by the Lower East Side, and Soundview, in the Bronx, sometime next year. Weekly ridership on the ferries varies from 8,000 to 12,000, according to the Mayor’s Office.
In celebrating the one million ridership mark, the city is also offering customers some giveaways. Anyone who purchased a ticket on the NYC Ferry app between July 21 and July 28, will automatically be entered into a lottery to win a free annual pass. In addition, NYC Ferry will be offering half-price beverages on all its vessels throughout the day.