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Press Release

NYCEDC Announces Rockaway Ferry Shuttle Route

Nov 10 2016

Free shuttle will connect Rockaway residents with Citywide Ferry Service

Ferry will connect Rockaways to 20 neighborhoods citywide for price of a subway ride

QUEENS, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today released details for the Rockaway Shuttle, a free bus service that will connect residents with the Citywide Ferry Service launching in summer 2017. The eastbound and westbound shuttle routes each span four miles, connecting the ferry terminal at Beach 108th Street with Beach 35th Street to the east, and Beach 169th Street to the west.

The routes were developed based on a yearlong community engagement effort, which included community board meetings, elected-official-led town halls and civic organization events. The shuttle stops, which are currently under final review by the Department of Transportation, are in close proximity to densely populated areas and NYCHA developments, delivering on Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to create an equitable and accessible ferry service.

Citywide Ferry will carry an estimated 4.6 million passenger trips per year across six routes, providing new transportation to communities where housing and jobs are growing rapidly. 19 vessels will be operating at 21 landings throughout New York City, providing an affordable transit option for people in underserved communities and connecting New Yorkers with the city’s hundreds of miles of waterfront. More information on Citywide Ferry Service is available at

“Mayor de Blasio is launching Citywide Ferry Service to bring an equitable and accessible transit option to neighborhoods like the Rockaways that have long been cut off from other parts of our city,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “We were proud to partner with the community and local leaders to develop a shuttle service that will help even more Rockaway residents access the ferry, and connect to good jobs and opportunities throughout the five boroughs. I want to thank Council Member Richards in particular for his leadership on this effort and for continuing to ensure that the needs of the community are met through City services like the Rockaway Shuttle."

"The announcement about the ferry service returning to the Rockaways in 2017 was exciting news for the transit-starved peninsula, but the original shuttle proposal ending at Beach 65th Street prevented many east end residents from seeing it as a viable option," said Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway). "Thankfully, the extension announced today will allow residents as far east as Beach 35th Street to utilize the ferry service, which will help alleviate the crowded A train and improve transportation access for the majority of peninsula residents. I'd like to thank Mayor de Blasio, EDC President and CEO Torres-Springer and Hornblower for improving the shuttle service for the better of the Rockaways."

“With the extension of the shuttle bus at both ends of the Rockaway Peninsula, even more Rockaway residents and future visitors will be able to enjoy the newest way to Work, Live, Play once Citywide Ferry becomes operational,” said Cameron Clark, Senior Vice President of Hornblower and Project Manager of Citywide Ferry. “Hornblower is excited to bring its strong history of reliable service and its culture of warm hospitality to the Rockaways as the first route to launch next summer, and we are committed to growing the service, supporting local businesses and becoming a part of the Rockaway fabric for years to come.”

“Commuters and visitors alike will soon have an accessible transit option to and from the Rockaways. The Rockaway Shuttle routes were designed in large part by a robust, year-long engagement with the community – including Community Board 14 and Rockaway Peninsula civic leaders – and we thank them for their time, commitment and insights. The new free Rockaway Shuttle will help enhance equitable access to and from neighborhoods at both ends of the peninsula to the long-awaited Citywide Ferry Service,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

"It is with great optimism that I work with the NYC EDC on resolving the decades old issue of the need to improve transportation in Rockaway by providing a credible, full-time ferry service. I know my constituents are counting on this service for occupational and economic reasons,” said NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

“In New York City, where public transportation is of vital importance, the addition of the free Rockaway Shuttle is a step in the right direction, particularly for a community lacking in viable options. It will help commuters connect to the forthcoming citywide ferry service and can promote quicker and more convenient travel. We must continue to find ways in which Rockaway residents can access economic opportunities and reap the benefits of these changes,” said State Senator James Sanders Jr.

"The new ferry will make the arduous commute to Manhattan much more convenient for our residents and it will spur economic development on the peninsula. We also expect it to bring significant tourist spending during the summer beach season which our struggling merchants depend on," said Jonathan Gaska, District Manager for Community Board 14.

The two Rockaway Shuttle routes will each take roughly 25 minutes to travel from the ferry landing to either the eastbound or westbound terminus. Each route includes six total stops, which maximizes the area the shuttle can serve while ensuring that each shuttle can reliably meet hourly ferry arrivals and departures. Shuttle stops will be located at existing bus stops.

Eastbound stops:
Ferry Terminal:Beach Channel Dr. & Beach 108th
Stop 2: Rockaway Beach Blvd & Beach. 86th St
Stop 3: Beach Channel Drive & Beach. 67th
Stop 4: Beach Channel Drive & Beach 54th St
Stop 5: Beach Channel Drive & Beach 41st St
Bus Terminus: Beach Channel Drive & Beach 35th St

Westbound stops:
Ferry Terminal: Beach Channel Drive & Beach 108th
Stop 2: Rockaway Beach Blvd & Beach 127th St
Stop 3: Rockaway Beach Blvd & Beach 135th St
Stop 4: Rockaway Beach Blvd & Beach 149th St
Stop 5: Jacob Riis Park Road & Bath House
Terminus: Rockaway Point Blvd & Beach 169th St (Weekday Only)*

In conjunction with the shuttle service, a new parking lot will also open at Beach Channel Drive & Beach 108th Street. The parking lot will open in summer 2017.

More Details on Citywide Ferry Service

New Jobs:

  • At least 155 new jobs in the New York Harbor
  • Crew will earn wages above $15 per hour, along with a comprehensive benefits package.
  • Hornblower has a strong history as a strong unionized employer
  • Hornblower will participate in the City’s HireNYC program, which matches qualified applicants from neighborhood-based WorkForce1 training centers.


  • Rockaway, South Brooklyn and Astoria routes scheduled to launch in 2017.
  • Rockaway route will connect to the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Wall Street.
  • Astoria route will connect to Astoria, Roosevelt Island (Cornell Tech), Long Island City, East 34th Street and Wall Street.
  • South Brooklyn route will connect Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 and Pier 6, and Wall Street, with an optional link to Governors Island.
  • Soundview and Lower East Side routes to launch in 2018.
  • Routes from Coney Island and Stapleton on Staten Island are in planning stages for future expansion.
  • Combined routes will cover over 60 miles of waterway.
  • Over half a million New Yorkers live within a half-mile of one of the 21 Citywide Ferry landings, including 15,000 families living in NYCHA developments.

Commuting Times:

  • Rockaway to Wall Street (1 stop): Approximately 1 hour
  • Astoria to E 34th Street (2 stops): Approximately 22 minutes
  • Astoria to Wall Street (3 stops): Approximately 38 minutes
  • Soundview to Wall Street (2 stops): Approximately 43 minutes
  • Bay Ridge to Wall Street (4 stops): Approximately 48 minutes


  • Cost per ride will equal that of a single subway ride
  • 4,000 daily East River Ferry customers will see fares reduced from $4 to the cost of a single subway ride
  • Fare will allow for free transfers to any other ferry route within the system, including the East River Ferry.
  • Both paper and smartphone ticketing will be available, with payments accepted via cash, credit, or debit card. Discounts will be available for seniors, children and New Yorkers with disabilities.
  • Passengers will be allowed to bring bicycles on board for a $1 fee.

The Boats:

  • Each boat will be able to carry at least 149 passengers.
  • All boats will be equipped with WiFi.
  • Boats will be fully accessible to New Yorkers with disabilities, and will comply with the requirements of both the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York City Local Law 68 of 2005.
  • New boats will be equipped with the most modern engine design available to reduce emissions and noise, as well as an efficient hull design that will limit wakes and maximize fuel economy.
  • City contract with Hornblower allows the company to charter vessels if necessary to meet the implementation timeline.

City Support:

  • City is investing $55 million in infrastructure upgrades, including building 10 new ferry landings. Barge construction is currently underway at a facility on Staten Island.
  • City is providing $30 million in operating support per year, over a period of six years. Based on a projection of 4.6 million annual trips, the per-trip subsidy for Citywide Ferry Service will be $6.60, lower than the nearly $8 per trip subsidy on the Long Island Railroad or the nearly $15 per trip subsidy for express buses. City is providing $10 million for additional startup costs, such as vessel upgrades and ticketing machines.
  • Potential sponsorships would offset operating costs.
  • City negotiated an option to acquire at least 18 state-of-the-art, highly efficient passenger ferry vessels, allowing for greater operational flexibility and providing significant savings to taxpayers over the life of the service (roughly up to $5 million per year).
  • City will receive a portion of fare-box revenue if ridership exceeds 5.6 million passengers.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.