Ferry Riders At Wits’ End Over Long Lines And Infrequent Service To Rockaway Beach

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The holiday for many means time off to relax, but some say it’s been anything but relaxing.

Exasperated, tired, and dehydrated — hundreds upon hundreds of New Yorkers waited hours to take the city ferry to Rockaway Beach for the holiday.

“It’s the Fourth of July, it’s amazing weather, everyone just wants to get to the beach not stand in this huge line,” Manhattan resident John Brierty told CBS2’s Reena Roy.

The city’s economic development corporation says despite very high ridership every weekend all summer, there is no special holiday schedule.

There were over 6,000 riders travelling to and from Rockaway Sunday, but on Monday the ferry was still scheduled as normal — meaning one boat per hour goes from Pier 11 to the beach.

Each boat holds 149 passengers. The EDC added extra boats starting at 10:30 in the morning to help with the crowds.

“We are adding capacity, but there’s still a lot of demand and New Yorkers should expect to arrive early and wait a little extra,” EDC spokesman Anthony Hogrebe said.

It’s unclear how often the extra boats run, but the EDC says that’s more cost effective than formally changing the schedule.

They’ll be using that same method for the holiday Tuesday.

“You want to try and balance being fiscally responsible with the need to try and service as many people as you can,” Hogrebe said.

The ferry service just launched two months ago, costing the city millions and costing riders the same as riding the subway.

So far, some aren’t impressed.

“I don’t know what they were thinking,” rider Barbara Hess said. “Obviously this wasn’t thought through.”

“I think it’s really foolish they haven’t had better planning for this,” Brierty said.

Many are left wondering if they’ll even make it to the beach at all this holiday.

The city says it’ll be adding capacity to three of its 20 boats to try and keep up with the demand.

They say those boats will hold 250 passengers instead of 149.

While ferry service to Rockaway beach will run on a normal weekday schedule Tuesday, the East River route will be cut short.

The last ferry departs from Pier 11 at 2:26 p.m. in preparation for the Macy’s fireworks show.

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