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New details emerge for MTA’s L train shutdown ferries

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Bigger boats, preliminary schedules, and more

Max Touhey

With six months to go before the L train shutdown begins, the MTA and the DOT are firming up the mitigation plans for commuters during the 15-month period when that line will not run between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Plans for one of those—an express ferry service that will run between Williamsburg and East 20th Street—have recently been firmed up; the boats will now have the capacity to carry 240 passengers per ferry, per trip.

That number isn’t exactly high, considering the amount of commuters who will be displaced as a result of the shutdown—by the MTA’s own calculations, 275,000 people take the L to, from, and within Manhattan on a daily basis. But it is higher than the 149 that was originally projected.

The agency acknowledges that the ferry isn’t a perfect solution (and indeed, it’s hardly a perfect solution for the city’s larger transit crisis), but rather, one of many available options to L riders. “We only expect a small portion of our customers to choose a ferry over the subway or bus, but we’re keeping our promise to listen to your feedback and if any aspect of our alternate service plan needs tweaking, then we will do that,” NYCT president Andy Byford said in a statement.

Two of these ferries will be in operation, though a third will be on standby should capacity require it.

The ferry service will operate separately from NYC Ferry, which already has stops in both Williamsburg and Stuyvesant Cove, though no direct service between the two. A fare will be $2.75, and according to the MTA, that’ll cover any necessary transfers between other L alternatives, like buses.

The MTA also released details on how regularly these boats will run, which is below:

Weekday schedule

Early AM (6 – 7 AM): every 15 minutes

AM Peak (7– 10 AM): every 7.5 minutes

Midday (10 AM – 5 PM): every 10 minutes

PM Peak (5 – 8 PM): every 7.5 minutes

Evenings (8 PM – Midnight): every 10 minutes

Weekend/Holiday schedule

Early AM (6 – 10 AM): every 15 minutes

Daytime (10 AM – Midnight): every 10 minutes

Friday/Saturday Night (Midnight – 2 AM): every 15 minutes

Whether these will meaningfully impact commuters during the shutdown remains to be seen; stay tuned for an analysis of that in the coming weeks.