With many subways and buses at near or full capacity and the highest commute time of any major US city, New York has been finding options to bring the best service and quality-of-life to residents and commuters at the water’s edge. With top priority placed on expanding citywide connectivity and modernizing infrastructure across all five boroughs, the waters around New York City have become part of the solution. NYC Ferry, originally named by the NYCEDC as the “Citywide Ferry Service,” was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration in 2015 with goals to relieve part of the load of the city’s transportation system while connecting 20 waterfront communities, many of which had historically been considered “transit deserts”. The project would provide affordable and convenient transit options for communities, support growing neighborhoods, connect people to jobs and economic opportunities throughout the city and increase the resiliency and redundancy of the city’s transportation network.
Up until recent expansion efforts, ferry service had two main roles within the city’s transportation system: (1) providing additional commuter capacity in routes that had become overcrowded with prohibitive traffic/delays, (2) providing targeted relief for commuters affected by an abrupt loss in ground transportation service (situations like 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy).