NYC ferry far exceeded its ridership expectations in 2017, the city’s Economic Development Corporation revealed on Thursday. The ferry service had predicted 2.1 million riders by the end of 2017, but in fact saw 2.89 million riders by the end of last year.
Due to the growing popularity of the ferry, the city has also decided to order six new vessels that can fit up to 349 passengers—200 more than what most operational ferries on the fleet can fit today.
The city had previously ordered larger boats that seat up to 250 to meet the growing demand last summer. The city ordered the first round of these 349-passenger boats in September 2017, at a cost $7 million to $7.5 million, and the increasing ridership levels suggest it has been worth the investment.
“NYC Ferry has proven to be more popular than we could have hoped, and nearly three million riders agree it’s the best way to get around the city,” said James Patchett, the president of NYCEDC. “Now we’re looking forward to launching two more routes in 2018, helping even more riders connect to good jobs and opportunities.”
Patchett was referring to the Lower East Side and Bronx routes that are set to launch sometime this year. So far the East River route has proved the most popular, with more than half of the overall riders using this line; it has also been open the longest among the four routes.