Mayor Adams Unveils Phase One of “NYC Ferry Forward,” Vision for a More Equitable, Accessible, Fiscally Sustainable System
New Fair Fares-Style NYC Ferry Discount Program Will Make System More Equitable, Lower Prices for Low-Income Riders, Seniors, and People With Disabilities
New, Progressive Fare Structure Will Help Reduce Public Subsidy
Elimination of Bike Fee, Additional Outreach to NYCHA Residents, Support for Alternative Payment Methods Will Help Attract Riders
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today unveiled “NYC Ferry Forward,” his vision for a more equitable, accessible, and fiscally sustainable citywide ferry system. The plan includes a new NYC Ferry Discount Program — modeled after the city’s Fair Fares program for subways and buses, which offers reduced-fair rides for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income riders. Starting in September, a at least 1 million – New Yorkers can take advantage of the program and ride the ferry, one way, for the low price of $1.35. The plan also features a new, progressive fare structure, free trip vouchers and expanded outreach to NYCHA residents, makes it easier for New Yorkers to bike to and from the ferry, and creates opportunities for revenue generation.
“Getting around New York City shouldn’t feel like you’re running a 5K. Wherever you live in the five boroughs, we want you to have choices, and our vision for the NYC Ferry helps provide New Yorkers with those choices,” said Mayor Adams. “More and more New Yorkers are now using the NYC Ferry to get to work and get around, so we are writing a new chapter in the history of the NYC Ferry system and of transportation in our city — one built on the three pillars of equity, accessibility, and fiscal sustainability. Our NYC Ferry Forward vision will keep our city on the map as a leader and innovator in public transportation.”
Eligible New Yorkers will be able to apply for the Ferry Discount Program using the NYC Ferry website or by mailing in an application. Once verified, eligible riders can buy discounted tickets through the NYC Ferry app or at NYC Ferry ticket windows and agents. The NYC Ferry app will also support digital wallet apps like Cash App to expand access for more New Yorkers. A discounted one-way ticket price of $1.35 will help to make the ferry accessible to even more New Yorkers, while also helping to diversify NYC Ferry’s ridership.
To help more New Yorkers to apply for the Ferry Discount Program, NYC Ferry will send mailers this summer to almost 60 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments within about one mile of each ferry landing, ahead of the program’s launch. Additionally, NYC Ferry in partnership with NYCHA and other community organizations to conduct targeted and ongoing outreach to NYCHA residents and offer two free NYC Ferry app tickets to encourage first time riders to explore and enjoy the ferry. The plan also focuses on increasing revenue and ridership by establishing a new, dynamic, and progressive fare structure, which reduces costs to the city. This means keeping the cost low for regular riders, while asking infrequent riders to pay a little more. The plan ensures everyday riders can still take advantage of the $2.75 fare by purchasing aa 10-trip pack for $27.50, while single ride fares will cost $4.00 for visitors or infrequent riders. This scale will allow the system to continue to best serve riders, while generating as much as $2 million in additional annual revenue, helping to reduce the system’s public subsidy.
Mayor Adams will also eliminate the $1.00 bike fee across the entire NYC Ferry system to help encourage environmentally sustainable multi-modal transportation. Now, New Yorkers are more encouraged to bike to and from the ferry, while also taking a mode of transportation that decreases commuters’ reliance on cars and simultaneously reducing the city’s carbon footprint. The elimination of the $1.00 bike fee and fare changes take effect on September 12, 2022. The city will be working with NYC Ferry operator City Experiences to implement these initiatives over the coming weeks.
“The NYC Ferry Forward plan is a needed and innovative step toward achieving a ferry system that is deeply accessible while also fiscally sustainable. I have worked closely with President Andrew Kimball and the team at EDC to make sure that we were keeping what was already great, while also thinking creatively and proactively on how to lower costs, increase ridership, and keep the ferries affordable for everyone,” said Council Member Amanda Farías, chair, Committee on Economic Development. “Thank you to Mayor Eric Adams for prioritizing affordability for the riders as well as the city’s pockets and to President Andrew Kimball for your commitment to improving our ferry system throughout these last seven months. I look forward to continuing to work together on the success of our NYC Ferry system.”
In an effort to generate new revenue and continue increasing ridership, NYC Ferry will launch the Rockaway Rocket this month. The new, reservation-based shuttle pilot program with direct service from Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan to Rockaway. The shuttle will run on summer weekends and holidays from July 23 until Labor Day weekend, supplementing the current NYC Ferry service on the Rockaway route. Additionally, NYC Ferry will work to generate additional revenue by seeking new public-private sponsorship opportunities and developing a plan to maximize revenue from any underused vessels, including for film or TV productions. These opportunities will further reduce system costs and public subsidies in the future.
Additionally, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), which oversees NYC Ferry, will initiate a competitive, open bidding process for a new ferry operation contract this summer. This new contract will further allow the system to remain a permanent fixture of the New York City landscape.
The NYC Ferry system provides more than 6 million riders annually with safe, dependable, affordable, and accessible transit across the five boroughs. With six routes that touch every borough, 25 landings, and 38 vessels, the system spans 70 nautical miles and is now the largest passenger-only fleet in the nation, based on hours of service. NYC Ferry has further proven to be among New York City’s most resilient transit network with the fastest ridership recovery of any city transit system since the pandemic.