In 2013 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that New York City was home to an estimated 8.4 million people. The most significant increases to the city’s population have occurred in the outlying boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. While NYC’s subway system is among the most extensive and widely-traveled in the world, for residents who live outside of Manhattan, opportunities for economic advancement can be limited.
Current NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio recently unveiled his plans for how to more easily and readily connect residents in Queens and Brooklyn to the job opportunities in Manhattan. So far, the Mayor’s plans to expand the city’s ferry service to include service to all five boroughs have received a luke-warm reception.
De Blasio’s plans include expenditures of $75 million to build terminals and in fare subsidies. In total officials estimate that annual ridership numbers via ferry would grow to 4.6 million and, for many residents, commute times to Manhattan could be reduced by 50 percent.
Currently, roughly 22 million people ride the city’s Staten Island ferry annually and another 10 million ride the Hudson River ferries which transport residents from New Jersey to NYC. Plans for ferry route expansion include routes from lower and midtown Manhattan to neighborhoods including Astoria, Bay Bridge, Red Hook, Cobble Hill and the Rockaways.
While it remains to be seen whether all of de Blasio’s plans for ferry expansion come to fruition; along with economic concerns, more ferries and increased ridership also presents safety concerns. While people tend to romanticize traveling via ferry, individuals who work or are passengers aboard any sea vessel are vulnerable to suffering injuries related to slippery surfaces, malfunctioning equipment, falling objects as well as those that may result from a crash.
Source: Bloomberg Business, “No Subway, No Problem as New York Plots Ferry Expansion,” Martin Z. Braun, Feb. 17, 2015