NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The city’s 2-year-old ferry service is swimming in subsidies for rider and city council members are tackling the issue head-on.
The council is floating a plan to give ferries a dedicated department and chief who can sort it all out, reports CBS2’s Dave Carlin.READ MORE: Kreider's Hat Trick Powers Rangers To Win Over Coyotes
Some people are very in to ferries, especially Eleanor Alper and Erica Dingman, friends from Brooklyn on a mission to try out every New York City ferry route.
The ride from Manhattan’s 34th Street dock to the one in Astoria, Queens, costs $2.75 each per ride.
As the popularity of the service grows, the deficit swells.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s started with a $325 million deal to intensify commutes by boat, but costs skyrocket as the city subsidizes each rider – projected to go higher than $24, one watchdog group claims.
James Katz, executive vice president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said he did not think the service will pay for itself.
He told city council members the New York City ferry is estimated to serve 11 million riders annually by 2023 after expanding the fleet with new service to Throggs Neck, Manhattan’s west side, Coney Island and Staten Island’s north shore.READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 1/23 Sunday Morning Forecast
VIEW CURRENT NYC FERRY ROUTES: https://www.ferry.nyc/
City council member Paul Vallone says the city subsidizing riders appears necessary but wants to partner with corporations to offset the high costs. He also wants a new layer of government just to handle ferries.
“A ferry agency with cooperation of all the city agencies would be a perfect way to address the future needs of the city,” said Vallone.
Some ferry riders said they’d like to see the service link up more effectively to mass transit – buses and subways.
The MTA could one day partner with ferry service, but for now the costs are two separate fares, doubling the expense for commuters who use both.
“If you’re using it plus the MTA a, yeah, yeah,” said rider Erica Dingman of Williamsburg.
The dedicated city ferry office and the idea being floated for a new waterfront chief could be approved by city councilmembers within a month.MORE NEWS: Bratt Helps Devils Rally For Win Over Hurricanes
The New York City ferry currently has 16 boats, with plans to buy 22 more as the new routes get rolled out.