NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — All aboard commuters!
The new citywide ferry made its debut Monday morning, with stops in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
CBS2’s Janelle Burrell was there as passengers tried it out for the first time.
Filing on from Rockaway Beach just before 5:30 a.m., the new NYC Ferry into Manhattan symbolizes a victory for many riders.
“It’s a 20 minute ride just to get to the A train on parts of the peninsula, so this is really a big boom for the community,” resident John Cori told Burrell.
“It’s an easier commute to Manhattan,” said resident John Signorelli.
There were cheers Monday morning as the boat departed for the first time from Beach Channel Drive and Beach 108th Street. The ferry then stops in Sunset Park, Brooklyn before reaching its final destination at Pier 11 on Wall Street. In total, an hour-long trip.
Renovated ferries also launched Monday on the existing East River route.
The city is expecting to spend more than $325 million on the entire project. There will eventually be 20 boats in the fleet, complete with snacks and beer for purchase.
“It’s very exciting for Rockaway, for the community,” said ferry rider Dan Guarino. “I was on the last ferry post Sandy, so I had to be on the first one.”
Desiree Maple, who was among the first to float the idea of the ferry, was aboard Monday morning. She was with another woman who was getting very emotional.
“It’s really been a gift for her,” said fellow commuter Desiree Maple. “She would sometimes go to elected officials by herself and say ‘Please, you gotta do this.'”
Joe Hardigan has been pushing for ferry service for 20 years.
“Unbelievable,” he told WCBS 880’s Myles Miller. “I’m pinching myself.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio greeted some of the passengers as they arrived.
So what did riders have to say?
“I don’t have to take the car in anymore,” said Rockaway resident Toni Anne Fregara. “I work one block away, saves me a lot of money on parking, gas, tolls.”
The cost is $2.75 each way, the same as a subway ride, but you can’t use a MetroCard, so riders can either download the app or buy a ticket at the dock.
Two additional ferry routes from Astoria and South Brooklyn are scheduled to start this summer and by next year, another three routes from the Lower East Side, the Soundview section of the Bronx and the East River will begin.
For more information on current scheduling, CLICK HERE.