East River Ferry Service Increases Capacity; Opens New Brooklyn Bridge Park Slip

To meet demand for the East River Ferry’s pilot service, the city is adding a new fleet with more than twice the capacity on weekends. The new boats will hold 399 passengers, instead of the current 149.

In addition, The New York Times reported Friday that the city opened a new ferry slip at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park last week designed to speed loading and unloading of passengers and reduce delays. The new floating dock is 100 yards south of the old slip at the Fulton Ferry pier, which, according to Paul Goodman, chief executive of BillyBey Ferry Co., was too small to accommodate the bigger boats and too narrow for the herds of passengers boarding and disembarking there.

The East River service, which connects ferries at East 34th Street, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Wall Street (as well as Governor’s Island on weekends), is nearly a year into a three-year subsidized $9 million pilot program.

As well, the schedule is being accelerated throughout summer weekends, beginning Memorial Day. Ferries will run 6:45 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. on weekdays, every 20 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes off-peak. On Saturdays and Sundays, the larger boats will run every 45 minutes from 9:35 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The ferry costs $4 for a one-way ticket, $12 for an all-day pass and $140 for an unlimited monthly pass.

In its first 10 months, the East Ferry service had 714,000 paying passengers. Last fall, Goodman proposed adding boats, but that would have required more money from the city.

Meanwhile, boats sell coffee from Brooklyn Roasters, and recently added other drinks and snacks with a local flavor, including egg creams made with U-bet chocolate syrup.

See the full New York Times story here.

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  • Park Lover

    I wish the ferries would also run to Pier 6! If I’m gonna walk to public transportation from the south Heights/north Cobble Hill, may as well take a much closer subway line. sigh.

  • DrewB

    It would be nice if the ferries had a permanent stop on pier 6, not just when Gov’s Island is open. But for getting to Williamsburg, greenpoint and LIC, the ferry is way better than any other public transportation option. Plus you get to travel on the water instead of underground. It also seems this new schedule is running a bit later, which makes it easier to take the ferry for evening activities. LEt’s hope that traffic remains high and they expand the service. It has always baffled me that we don’t take more advantage of the waterways for transport in this city. Hong Kong does a great job of that!

  • Fracesca D.

    The most extraordinary view in Brooklyn Bridge Park the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the edges of Pier 1 as you enter, to the right, has been destroyed by moving the ferries into this area.

    The ferry could stay where it is or be located further into the park, leaving this view open to all. What has been created here is a place to unload tourists from buses and quickly load them onto ferries. This is not just bad planning, it ignores aesthetics and it ignores the beauty and the peace and quiet of this part of the park and of our neighborhood. This is a disaster and we should all register our concerns and get this docking area removed.

  • David on Middagh

    The new dock kills the view from the Fulton Ferry pier as well. Whole wedding parties used to go down there to have their pictures taken against the incredible river & skyline backdrop.

    I’m all in favor of more waterway usage, as DrewB suggests. But the tourist-trapization of the piers makes one wonder when all the *development* will end. (There’s an ATM on the boards of the Fulton Ferry pier, next to the outdoor eatery that’s been usurping the space for a while now. You know you’ve hit a tourist trap when…)

  • Lauren Q.

    Yes, David, and there is also a machine for buying a ferry ticket right next to the building on Pier 1. This is all about moving tourists around, hundreds of them, each boat holds about 300 people — and they have created a slip for two ferries. So the gorgeous view will be completely gone, all to serve two ugly boats for tourists who are dumped at Pier 1 by tour buses. And when the boats are not there the tourists will be lining up waiting for them rather than enjoying the park. If they put the boats further into the park, the entrance to the park and the spectacular vista of the bridges, would still be there for all to enjoy. This is really an outrage and it was done by the park administrators, who failed to consult either the designers or the Brooklyn Bridge Park trustees.

  • Cranberry Beret

    I agree with Lauren. There’s an entire nabe called Fulton ferry landing, for goodness sake, and they couldn’t make do with the ferry pier that’s served Brooklyn for 300 years? It’s turned the entrance to the park into an outdoor bus terminal.

  • Suzanna

    How can we get rid of this ferry terminal? Is there a process these administration people have to go thru before building something like this? Did they follow the process? It sounds from above comments that important design decisions got made by administrators in an underhanded way. Someone mentioned a shelter is being built . Can this be stopped?